Episode 1: Outdoor life among children and youth in Oslo: social inequality and social equalization

In this episode we speak with professor Kirsti Gurholt about her recent contribution to an Oslo-based study on the participation of children and youths in outdoor life, and how Oslo Municipality can direct its work towards increasing the numbers of participants and thus reduce social inequality in outdoor life and health.

Episode 1: Outdoor life among children and youth in Oslo: Social inequality and social equalization

Abstract

The study was conducted to meet expressed knowledge needs by the Municipality of Oslo’s Department of Urban Environment, in an open research tender. A combined quantitative and qualitative approach was designed, which aimed to investigate: 1) participation in outdoor life among children and youth in Oslo, and 2) how the Municipality can direct its work towards increasing the numbers of participants and thus reduce social inequality in outdoor life and health. The quantitative study is based on the survey Young-in-Oslo-2018, conducted by NOVA•, which investigated quality of life among youth aged 13 to 19. A representative sample of 8449 students (grade 8 to 13) was invited to answer six questions about participation in outdoor life, to which 7100 responded. The results show that half of the youths participate in forest-based outdoor life, at least once a month. Most notably, systematic socioeconomic inequality distinguishes those participating from those who do not. A greater proportion of youth with high socioeconomic status and parents born in Norway use the outdoors. The lowest proportion of youth who are active in outdoor life is found in districts with lower socioeconomic levels and higher unemployment rates than the Oslo average, and amongst families with an immigrant background. A qualitative online survey charted the role of NGOs facilitating organized outdoor life for children and youth across Oslo, and similar activities offered by public health services in five (of 15) districts -- spanning from high to low socioeconomic status by public measures. The analyses show that only four (of about 40) NGOs facilitate outdoor leisure activities for children and youth regularly. Further, the total number of facilitated activities is small and varies in numbers between the districts. The activities offered lack regularity, stability, and attract limited numbers of young people, and thus do not have the capacity to overcome social inequalities. One key recommendation is to develop an overall strategic plan for implementation, financing and collaboration on municipal and district levels, across sectors (including NGOs), in order to realise agreed ambitious goals.

Gurholt, K.P., Torp, I. H. D. & Eriksen, J. W. (2020). Studie av friluftsliv blant barn og unge i Oslo: Sosial ulikhet og sosial utjevning. NIH-Forskningsrapport. Oslo: Norges idrettshøgskole. ISBN 978-82-502-0583-3, https://nih.brage.unit.no/nih-xmlui/handle/11250/2684299


• The study is conducted by NOVA – The Norwegian research institute on welfare, upbringing and ageing in collaboration with KoRus – the Regional competence centres for the field of intoxicants. It is part of www.ungdata.no, repeated every third year and financed by the state and the municipal. The presented analysis is carried out by the authors according to an agreement between NIH and NOVA.