Prevalence of health promotion policies in sports clubs in Victoria, Australia
journal contributionposted on 2006-01-01, 00:00 authored by S Dobbinson, J Hayman, Trish LivingstonTrish Livingston
In recent years, some health agencies offered sponsorship to sporting associations to promote healthy environments by encouraging clubs to develop health-related policies. However, the extent to which these sponsorship contracts reach their stated aims is of concern. This study aimed to quantify levels of policy development and practice in sports clubs for each of five key health areas, namely smoke-free facilities, sun protection, healthy catering, responsible serving of alcohol and sports injury prevention. Representatives from 932 Victorian sports clubs were contacted by telephone with 640 clubs (69%) participating in the survey. Results suggested that the establishment of written policies on the key health areas by sports clubs varied widely by affiliated sport and health area: 70% of all clubs with bar facilities had written policies on responsible serving of alcohol, ranging from 58% of tennis clubs to 100% of diving and surfing clubs. In contrast, approximately one-third of sports clubs had a smoke-free policy, with 36% of tennis, 28% of country football and 28% of men's cricket clubs having policy. Moreover, 34% of clubs overall had established sun protection policy, whereas clubs competing outside during summer months, [diving (86%) and life-saving (81%)] were most likely to have a written sun protection policy. Injury prevention policies were established in 30% of sports clubs, and were most common among football (56%), diving (43%) and life-saving (41%). This study suggests that policy development for health promotion can be achieved in sports clubs when it is well supported by health agencies and consideration is given to the appropriateness of the specific behaviours to be encouraged for a given sport. Communication between associations and clubs needs to be monitored by health agencies to ensure support and resources for policy development to reach the club level.