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Landmark report reveals children’s activity levels for the first time

Landmark report reveals children’s activity levels for the first time

Posted: Thu, 06 Dec 2018 14:43

Landmark report reveals children’s activity levels for the first time

New research published by Sport England, carried out independently by Ipsos MORI, reveals the scale of the challenge to help the nation's children be more active, and the benefits that sport and physical activity can bring.

Active Lives Children and Young People is the largest ever survey of its kind, and provides comprehensive insight into how children in England are taking part in sport and physical activity both in and out of school. The data shows that activity levels of children in Somerset are on the whole reflective of the national picture with 44.3% of children in the County leading active lives, doing an average of 60 or more minutes of physical activity a day. However, just over 32.3% are less active which means they do less than 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Click here for more details

Jane Knowles, CEO at Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership (SASP) who administer the survey in the County said:

"Physical activity is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle, providing so many physical and mental health outcomes for our young people now and into their adulthood. These figures show a need in Somerset by organisations, family and friends to provide and/or encourage physical activity and sport opportunities appropriate to our young people as well as promoting positive messaging about getting and staying active. The results show that some sectors of our communities are less likely to be active at all ages such as girls or children with special educational needs to name two and how participation changes over a childhood from 5 to 16 years. The data is rich and will get richer, deeper and more robust in future years and will inform SASPs strategic investment into PE and school sport as well as community provision in the future."

The national report is based on responses from over 130,000 children aged 5-16 in England during the academic year 2017 to 2018. It also reveals that there are significant inequalities based on family income.

  • It shows that children from the most affluent families are more active than those in the least affluent families.
  • It shows that children from the most affluent families are more active than those in the least affluent families. 39% of children in the least affluent families do less than 30 minutes of activity a day compared with 26% of children from the most affluent families.
  • 77% of children can swim 25 metres unaided by the time they leave primary school. However, 86% of children from the most affluent families can swim 25m unaided compared to only 42% from the least affluent families.

Other findings include:

  • There is not a lot of difference in the amount of sport and physical activity that takes place inside school, compared to activity levels outside of school, so both have a critical role to play. 28% of children are active in school for at least 30 minutes per day while 22% of children are active outside of school.
  • Activity levels peak at the end of primary school to the beginning of secondary school, but no age group reaches a majority of children doing the recommended levels of 60 minutes per day, every day.
  • The type of activity preferred changes as children get older. 'Active play' such as tag or climbing in a playground are the most popular forms of activity for younger age groups, with team sports growing in popularity as children get older. By school years 7-8 team sports are the most popular and remaining so through to age 16.
  • There is a gender divide between activity levels of boys and girls. Boys are more likely to be active every day than girls - 20% (boys) versus 14% (girls). This rift increases as girls get older, with a large gap opening from the end of primary school (years 5-6).

The survey also covers the 'outcomes' of sport and activity and helps to show the links between being active and the mental wellbeing of children as well as their personal development and that of their community. The opportunity to see more of these benefits by helping more children to be active enough is clear.

Commenting, Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive at Sport England said:

"Parents, schools, the sport and leisure industry and government all have a role to play in addressing and increasing childhood activity. This research is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and is a big wake-up call for all of us. We all care about the health and wellbeing of our children. These results tell us that what is currently being done to support them is not enough and change is required.

"We know that lots of factors affect behaviour and there is no single answer to the problem but listening to young people and what they want is the best starting point. In March we will publish the first results of our research on the attitudes of children to sport and activity, showing what they like about being active.

"I am calling for a national focus on the health and wellbeing of our nation's children and for the whole system to be united in delivering change. Our children deserve better and Sport England is determined to play its part."

Sports Minister Mims Davies said:

"While it is encouraging that 3 million children do at least an average of 60 minutes of sport or physical activity every day, the number of young people who are not doing enough is simply unacceptable. We know that an active child is a happier child and efforts must be stepped up to encourage young people to live healthy, active lives and I know that Sport England are committed to making progress in this area.

"Our School Sport and Activity Action Plan will also ensure that all children have access to quality PE, sport sessions and clubs. Together with the sport sector, parents and our local communities, we must build a comprehensive and cross Government offer to create a truly active nation."

To find out more about Active Lives Children and Young People and see the full results in full, go to www.sportengland.org/activeliveschildren from 09:30 on 6 December 2018 #activeliveschildren

Tags: Active Lives, Children & Young People, Featured

Partners and Sponsors

Partners and Sponsors

  • Sport England
    Active Partnerships
    Somerset Chamber of Commerce
    Disability Confident
    Somerset Skills & Learning
  • Youth Sport Trust
    activity alliance
    Sedgemoor District Council
    Avon & Somerset Police
    South Somerset District Council
  • Somerset Partnership
    Yeovil Hospital Healthcare
    Taunton & West Somerset Council
    Mendip District Council
    Homes in Sedgemoor
    Macmillan Cancer Support
  • Spark Somerset
    YMCA Dulverton Group
    Department for Work & Pensions
    Somerset CCG
  • together team
    Somerset Cricket Board
    British American Football Association
    Badminton England
    Somerset FA
    British Cycling
  • Create Development
    Children in Need
    The Salvation Army
    Somerset County Council
    Zing Somerset
    Sports Coach UK