Active Lives Survey Reveals Activity Levels in Children and Young People

6th December 2018

More than 40% of children in England do an average of more than 60 minutes of physical activity a day, a first-of-its-kind survey has found.

Sport England’s Active Lives Children and Young People Survey shows that around 3 million children (43.3%) lead active lives, however of that group, only 1.2 million (17.5%) are meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines of more than 60 minutes of activity a day, every day of the week.

The survey is the largest ever of its kind and gives comprehensive insight into how children in England are taking part in sport and physical activity, both in and out of school.

Figures also show that more than 2.3 million children and young people (32.9%) are less active, meaning they do fewer than 30 minutes of physical activity a day.

The report is based on responses from more than 130,000 children aged 5-16 in England during the academic year September 2017-July 2018.

And results show some significant inequalities in activity levels, based on family income.

In total, 39% of children in the least affluent families do fewer than 30 minutes of activity a day, compared to 26% of children from the most affluent families.

And while 77% of all children can swim 25 metres unaided by the time they leave primary school, that figure drops to 42% for children from the least affluent families and is at 86% for the most affluent.

Visit the Sport England website to download the full report including the data behind the report.

Northumberland Figures

Northumberland Sport led on the roll out of the survey across schools in Northumberland and the results have shown the following:

  • 16.3% of children are doing 60 minutes of activity a day, every day of the week
  • 19.8% of children are doing an average of 60 minutes or more a day across the week
  • 32.9% of children are doing an average of 30-59 minutes a day across the week
  • 31.0% of children are doing less than an average of 30 minutes a day across the week

Sport England Chief  Executive, Tim Hollingsworth, says now is the time for action.

“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,” he 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 do and don’t like about being active.”

Further information

For further information on the Active Lives Survey please visit our PE and School Sport section.

Active Lives Children Survey
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