New research from Sport England has revealed some interesting statistics around children in England’s participation in physical activity.
The Active Lives Children and Young People survey is the largest of it’s kind and the results have been collated using the responses of 130,000 children in England between the ages of five and 16.
The survey has found that over 40% of children in England are engaging in more than 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
There are three million children in England leading ‘active lives’, but only 1.2m of those children are meeting the guidelines of more than 60 mins activity per day, seven days a week
The results show that, at the other end of the scale, 32.9% of children in England are ‘less active’. This means they are engaging in less than 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
The survey also found a correlation between age and activity level. The report reveals that children between the ages of nine and 13 are the most likely to be active each day while young people between the ages of 13 and 17 are the least likely to be active on a daily basis.
Another statistic pulled from the results shows that boys are more likely to be active than girls.
The activity gap between genders widens with age. It was found that in school years one and two 19% of boys are active every day while 14% of girls are active every day. Moving up to school years seven and eight, 23% of boys are active each day but only 16% of girls.
The socio-economic profile of those surveyed also appeared to impact results. It was found that 22% of children and young people from highly affluent families were active every day while only 15% from the least affluent families were active on a daily basis.
So how does the type of activity children and young people are engaging with change with age?
The survey found that the most common activity for children between the ages of five and 11 was active play and informal activity whereas the most common activity for young people between the ages of 11 and 16 was group sports.
The report also noted a decline in mental wellbeing with age. Participants were asked to rank how happy they felt on a scale of one to 10.
Children in school years three and four were found to have an average of 7.9 whereas those in years nine to 11 gave an average score 6.2. However the report did also find a positive correlation between ‘engagement in sport and physical activity and levels of mental wellbeing’.
Children between the ages of seven and 16 who were active everyday ranked their happiness as an average of 7.5 out of 10, whereas those who were less active came up with an average of 6.8.
Another factor that is impacted by age is individual development. 94% of children between the ages of seven and 11 said they ‘keep trying until they can do something’. This drops off significantly with age with only 83% of 13 to 16-year-olds saying the same thing.
However, we do again see a positive relationship between physical activity and individual development. For children between the ages of seven and 16, 93% of those who were active agreed with the statement ‘If I find something difficult, I keep trying until I can do it’. This is compared with 87% of those who were billed as being ‘less active’.
One of the primary goals of The Mintridge Foundation is to raises awareness in children and young people around the importance of mental and physical wellbeing through sport. We work to not only increase participation in sport and physical activity but also to change the behaviours around it.
Lisa O’Keefe, the Insight Director at Sport England, said: “Given that attitudes towards sport and physical activity are often shaped by experiences in childhood, we have sought to explore and better understand not only the behaviours of children and young people, but also their attitudes towards sport and physical activity, and the extent to which being active links to levels of mental wellbeing, individual development and social and community development.”
O’Keefe added that another report will be published in March 2019. This will focus on ‘the attitudes of children and young people towards sport and physical activity’.
Alex Paske, Founder and Managing Director of The Mintridge Foundation said: “The unique approach of Mintridge programmes enables young people to find a sport or physical activity that is inclusive and enjoyable for them. The diversity of our role models and the impact of elite sportsmen and women really makes young people sit up, listen and discover what path they would like to pursue. The nature of our programmes encompasses school and home environments which sits in all aspects of a young person’s life to change mindsets.”
You can download Sport England’s full report here.
You can find out more about the work being done by The Mintridge Foundation by visiting our Blog or taking a look at the information around our Mentoring Programmes.
If you would like to find out more about what we do and how you can get involved please get in touch with us on [email protected].