Physical activity is considered as a major component of a healthy lifestyle. However, few studies have examined the relationships between the spatial accessibility to sport facilities and sport practice with a sufficient degree of specificity. The aim of this study was to investigate the associations between the spatial accessibility to specific types of sports facilities and the practice of the corresponding sports after carefully controlling for various individual socio-demographic characteristics and neighborhood socioeconomic variables.
Data from the RECORD Study involving 7290 participants recruited in 2007–2008, aged 30–79 years, and residing in the Paris metropolitan area were analyzed. Four categories of sports were studied: team sports, racket sports, swimming and related activities, and fitness. Spatial accessibility to sport facilities was measured with two complementary approaches that both take into account the street network (distance to the nearest facility and count of facilities around the dwelling). Associations between the spatial accessibility to sport facilities and the practice of the corresponding sports were assessed using multilevel logistic regression after adjusting for individual and contextual characteristics.
High individual education and high household income were associated with the practice of racket sports, swimming or related activities, and fitness over the previous 7 days. The spatial accessibility to swimming pools was associated with swimming and related sports, even after adjustment for individual/contextual factors. The spatial accessibility to facilities was not related to the practice of other sports. High neighborhood income was associated with the practice of a racket sport and fitness.
Accessibility is a multi-dimensional concept that integrates educational, financial, and geographical aspects. Our work supports the evidence that strategies to increase participation in sport activities should improve the spatial and financial access to specific facilities, but also address educational disparities in sport practice.