Objectives: To assess the relationship between proximity to specific sports facilities and participation in the corresponding
sports activities for adolescents in Germany.
Methods: A sample of 1,768 adolescents aged 11–17 years old and living in 161 German communities was examined.
Distances to the nearest sports facilities were calculated as an indicator of proximity to sports facilities using Geographic
Information Systems (GIS). Participation in specific leisure-time sports activities in sports clubs was assessed using a selfreport
questionnaire and individual-level socio-demographic variables were derived from a parent questionnaire.
Community-level socio-demographics as covariates were selected from the INKAR database, in particular from indicators
and maps on land development. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine associations between proximity to
the nearest sports facilities and participation in the corresponding sports activities.
Results: The logisitic regression analyses showed that girls residing longer distances from the nearest gym were less likely to
engage in indoor sports activities; a significant interaction between distances to gyms and level of urbanization was
identified. ... mehrDecomposition of the interaction term showed that for adolescent girls living in rural areas participation in indoor
sports activities was positively associated with gym proximity. Proximity to tennis courts and indoor pools was not
associated with participation in tennis or water sports, respectively.
Conclusions: Improved proximity to gyms is likely to be more important for female adolescents living in rural areas.