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The Administrative Data Research Network is an ESRC-funded project that ran from October 2013 - July 2018. It is currently at the end of its funding cycle and is no longer taking applications. Administrative data research will be taken forward in a new project, to be launched later in 2018.

Assessing the health impact of adults’ participation in sport in Wales: investigating the mediating role of accessibility to sports facilities

Research overview

This research project will seek to identify the relationship and pathways between the accessibility of sport facilities, self-reported participation in sport, and health for adults in Wales − and whether accessibility to sports facilities contributes to inequalities in health.

The project will enhance understanding of the health impact of the accessibility of sports facilities and of adult participation in sports. For the first time, accessibility measures will be linked to self-reported survey information about sports participation and health-related behaviours, as well as to routine health records. This provides a rare opportunity to enhance our understanding of the association between access to sport facilities, participation in sport, and health.


Policy makers are interested in interventions which aim to increase physical activity through increased participation in sport, particularly among vulnerable population groups. Where possible, the project will assess the impact on specific population subgroups, including groups which are considered relatively deprived. This will enable the Welsh Government and Sport Wales to assess the potential of targeting these subgroups.

In addition to being of interest to Welsh Government and Sport Wales, this research could also be of relevance to academia, local authorities, national sports governing bodies, as well as other policy makers and practitioners. This project has the potential to identify inequalities in access to sports facilities and identify communities that could benefit from an improved supply of sports facilities or population subgroups that could be better targeted with interventions promoting physical activity.

Government departments

NHS and administrative health records, SAIL

Date approved

February 2015

Research team

Theodora Pouliou (University of Swansea), Sarah Lowe (Welsh Govenrment), Prof. Gary Higgs (University of South Wales), Jonathan Radcliffe (Sport Wales)

Page last updated: 24/10/2017