The Youth Sport Trust has responded to Sport England's latest data on children and young people's activity levels.
- 44.9% of young people (3.2 million) average at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day – the recommended amount set by the Chief Medical Officer. This is down from 46.8% last year – a decrease of 86,500 young people.
- 31.3% (2.3 million) of young people averaged less than 30 minutes per day (vs. 29% last year).
- During the summer term, after the first national lockdown, there had been a significant decline in young people’s confidence and competence – two of the key elements of physical literacy. The summer term saw activity levels for girls hold up better than for boys.
- Sport England say the research shows that schools play a vital role in keeping young people active – both through physical education and by providing the facilities many clubs and groups rely on
Responding to the research, Youth Sport Trust Chief Executive Ali Oliver MBE, said:
Sport England’s research confirms that activity levels which were already too low have declined further during the last year. Worryingly, the real picture for young people now may be even worse during this current period of remote learning for many, and bad weather.This research also confirms what a vital role schools play in keeping young people active and well. It is no coincidence that young people’s confidence, development and resilience declined – especially among more disadvantaged groups – during a period when many missed regular organised sport and Physical Education.
The Schools Active Movement, representing School Sport Partnerships, also responded to the findings.
Alan Watkinson, Director of Sport Impact and Vince Brittain, CEO of Inspire+ said:
The Active Lives survey reflects an amazing effort to keep children active in extremely challenging circumstances. We see this in the professionalism, creativity and determination of our members and of the wider sector.
However, we are still in a critical situation where long-term physical and mental health is under a severe threat. Covid-19 has shone a light on some fundamental challenges for our society in terms of the extremely poor health of the nation and the capacity of the NHS to respond.
“We cannot afford to be complacent. Government now needs to harness, empower and invest in the expertise of our dedicated professionals. The School Sport and Activity Action Plan needs to provide a comprehensive and coordinated local offer backed up by a national infrastructure. It must guarantee truly accountable ringfenced funding for all schools. We must harness, empower and invest in our dedicated professionals and provide them with the tools to ensure that this generation of children are healthier, happier and more active than any generation ever before.”