Active Lives Children and Young People Survey

Posted: Thu, 28 Mar 2019 11:50

Active Lives Children and Young People Survey

Sport England has publishing the next stage of their Active Lives Children and Young People Survey. These official statistics provide the richest evidence yet on the factors that positively influence children and young people's activity levels. The study focusses on physical literacy, the five key elements of taking part - enjoyment, confidence, competence, understanding and knowledge. Taken together, our research describes how these impact children's activity levels, mental wellbeing, resilience and levels of social trust.

The release comes at a crucial time, given the imminent release of the Government's School Sport Action plan, its prevention green paper, and the plans to use physical activity to integrate communities and reduce childhood obesity. In the words of Sport England CEO, Tim Hollingsworth,"We hope these results will be considered and acted on by all who deliver activity and sport."

Active Lives provides comprehensive insight into how children in England are taking part in sport and physical activity both in and out of school drawing on the views of 130,000 children and young people.

The full report on the Active Lives Children and Young People Survey (with links to the published data) can be found at:

The key findings are:

  1. Physically literate children do twice as much activity. The more of the five elements of physical literacy children have, the more active they are.
  1. Enjoyment is the biggest driver of activity levels. Despite the majority of children (68%) understanding that sport and activity is good for them, understanding had the least impact on activity levels.
  1. Children who have all five elements of physical literacy report higher levels of happiness, are more trusting of other children, and report higher levels of resilience.
  1. Physical literacy decreases with age. As children grow older, they report lower levels of enjoyment, confidence, competence, and understanding. Previous research from Sport England shows that activity levels drop when children reach their teenage years.
  1. The results also reveal important inequalities among certain groups of children which must be tackled:
    1. Girls are less likely to say they enjoy or feel confident about doing sport and physical activity (58% of boys enjoy it, compared to 43% of girls while 47% of boys feel confident, compared to 31% of girls.) In children ages 5-7, boys are more likely to love playing sport, while girls are more likely to love being active.
    1. Children from the least affluent families are less likely to enjoy activity than those from the most affluent families, and previous research shows they are also far less likely to be active.
    1. Black children are more physically literate than other ethnic groups – driven by boys, but are less active than the population as a whole.

What you can do

  1. Take action. Think about how you can consider and act on these findings when delivering and designing sport and activity – for example, building enjoyment into your policy and practice for all children or demonstrating how enjoyable your opportunities for children and young people are.
  2. Best practise inspires others. If you are already thinking about enjoyment, confidence, competence, understanding and knowledge in your opportunities for children and young people or want to join the conversation, share your views using the hashtag#activeliveschildren.

Tags: Active Lives Survey, Activeliveschildren, Sport England

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