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The trend in sport participation among Dutch retirees, 1983–2007

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 April 2012

Department of Sociology, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Department of Sociology, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Department of Sociology, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Address for correspondence: Rabina Cozijnsen, Faculty of Social Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1081, 1081 HV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail:


This paper investigates the trend in sport participation among retirees between 1983 and 2007. Sport participation is important for retirees because of its health benefits and the opportunities it offers for social interaction. Factors that influence sport participation such as educational level, physical limitations, and occupational background have changed during the last decades, possibly accounting for changes in sport participation. Data are from the Amenities and Services Utilization Survey (AVO), a nationally representative Dutch survey with seven observations between 1983 and 2007. The trend in sport involvement, sports club membership, and competition was investigated in a sample of 2,497 male and 1,559 female retirees aged 58–67 years. Increases in participation were observed in sport involvement and sports club membership. This trend can partially be explained by increases in educational level, decreases in the number of retirees with physical limitations, and in those retiring from sedentary jobs. Yet, sport participation seems to have increased for all retirees, regardless of their socio-economic background and health status. Alternative explanations for the observed trend are discussed.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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