Activity levels amongst children and young people have remained stable compared to last academic year, recent Children and Young People Active Lives Survey data suggests

Activity levels amongst children and young people have remained stable compared to last academic year, recent Children and Young People Active Lives Survey data suggests

Posted: Fri, 10 Dec 2021 09:15

Activity levels amongst children and young people have remained stable compared to last academic year, recent Children and Young People Active Lives Survey data suggests

Children and Young People Active Lives Summary

Sport England published its latest Active Lives Survey for children and young people at the beginning of December. The data for Bedfordshire reveals some significant local differences across our unitary authorities, particularly when compared with the previous academic year for the same period of the year.

Nationally, the data reflects that activity levels are still down from pre-pandemic levels but have remained stable from the previous report. Our recently published strategy 'Moving Forwards Together' demonstrates our commitment to tackling the issues highlighted by this report. Clare Fitzboydon, Director of team BEDS&LUTON says:

"This comprehensive study of activity levels amongst children and young people supports the local insight and research that we gather as an Active Partnership and is key to helping shape the support we offer locally to help children and young people move more. We are passionate about working with our local partners to make a difference for young people and this insight really helps us influence and target our time and investment to make the biggest impact possible. There are many barriers to movement, but we can use these findings and dig into the data to ensure that short term trends do not become long term issues for Bedfordshire."

What is the Children and Young People Active Lives Survey?

The Children and Young People Active Lives Survey report summarises the activity levels of 5 to 16-year-olds in England during the academic year.

The insight collated by the Children and Young People Active Lives Survey is used to provide policymakers, local authorities, government departments and the entire sport and physical activity sector with the insight and knowledge into the physical activity habits of children and young people.

The latest report covers the period from September 2020 to July 2021 and provides an update on the sport and physical activity behaviours of children and young people (aged 5 to 16) in England, as well as covering continued disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report summarises sport and physical activity participation behaviours as 'Less Active'; 'Fairly Active' and 'Active'. The definitions are as follows:

Less Active: Less than an average of 30 minutes a day.

Fairly Active: An average of 30-59 minutes a day.

Active: An average of 60+ minutes a day.

The Chief Medical Officer guidelines suggest that an average of 60+ minutes a day of sport and physical activity constitutes an 'Active' child.

Key Headlines for Bedfordshire

  • Despite the pandemic, overall activity levels across Bedfordshire have remained broadly stable when compared with the same period in the previous year, with a small decrease in the number of 'Active' and 'Fairly Active' children.
  • At a local level, the overall activity levels also remained mostly stable, although when compared to the year 2017-2018 report, there have been some significant changes locally. These are as follows:
  • In Bedford, the number of 'Active' children was reported as 40.7%, a decrease of 0.6% from the previous year and an increase of 1.6% from the 2017-18 period. This is pleasing to see considering the disruption children and young people have experienced due to the pandemic. The number of 'Fairly Active' children was reported at 23.2%, a decrease of 2.7% from the previous year and an increase of 2.0% from the 2017-18 period, while the percentage of 'Less Active' was reported at 36.1%, an increase of 3.4% from the previous year and a decrease of 3.6% from the 2017-18 period.
  • In Luton, the number of 'Active' children has increased by 0.2% to 36.8% from the previous year, although when compared to the 2017-18 period, the number of 'Active' children is down by 5.6%. This is reflective of the national picture, in that the activity levels amongst children and young people are lower than pre-pandemic levels, but overall have remained stable compared to the previous year. The percentage of 'Fairly Active' children sits at 23.7%, a decrease of 2.4% from the previous year and a decrease of 0.4% from the 2017-18 period. The percentage of 'Less Active' children sits at 39.4%, an increase of 2.2% from the previous year and a significant 6.1% increase from the 2017-18 period, further echoing the national picture.
  • In Central Bedfordshire, 52.0% of children and young people are considered to be 'Active', an increase of 0.1% from the previous year and an increase of 2.1% from the 2017-18 period. It is pleasing to see that the number of 'Active' children and young people in Central Bedfordshire have remained stable over the past academic year. The percentage of 'Fairly Active' children currently sits at 20.9%, down by 2.4% from the previous year and a decrease of 4.0% from the 2017-18 period, while the percentage of 'Less Active' children sits at 27.2%, an increase of 2.3% from the previous year and an increase of 1.9% from the 2017-18 period.

Key Headlines Nationally (comparisons against the last report and 2017-18 period)

  • The percentage of 'Active' children currently sits at 44.6%, a decrease of 0.3% from the previous year and a significant decrease of 1.4% from the 2017-18 period.
  • The percentage of 'Inactive' children currently sits at 32.4%, an increase of 1.0% from the previous year and a decrease of 0.5% from the 2017-18.
  • Only 39.5% of those with low family affluence are considered to be 'Active', as opposed to 49.7% of those from high family affluence in the 2020-21 period. This has not changed significantly from the previous year or the 2017-18 period, suggesting that this is an issue that stretches further than the results of the pandemic.
  • 44.7% of males are considered to be 'Active', a significant decrease of 2.4% compared to the previous year and 2.1% from the 2017-18 period. 45.3% of females are considered to be 'Active', a significant increase of 2.7% from the previous year and an even bigger increase of 5.6% from the 2017-18 period.
  • 47.4% of people with a disability or long-term health condition are considered to be 'Active', whereas 45.8% of those without a disability or long-term health condition were considered to be 'Active' This shows there has been no significant changes from the previous year. There is insufficient data available for the 2017-18 period to make a comparison.
  • The least physically active demographic is 'Girl – Other' at 45.4%, followed by 'Boy – Black' at 41.8%.
  • The percentage of children and young people who are considered to be 'Active' during school hours currently sits at 42.6% and increase of 1.0% from the previous year and a significant 3.0% increase from the 2017-18 period. 52.0% of children and young people are considered to be 'Active' outside of school hours, a significant decrease of 2.0% from the previous year and a 0.6% decrease from the 2017-18 period. 33.7% of children and young people are considered to be 'Active' both during and outside of school hours which remained stable from the previous year, but a significant 1.2% increase from the 2017-18 period.

Swimming Capability

The national picture for swimming capability amongst children and young people is worrying. 78.7% of children and young people 'can swim', a significant 5.1% decrease from the previous year. Only 58.0% of children and young people 'can swim 25m unaided', a significant 5.7% decrease from the previous year. 74.6% of children and young people 'can tread water', a significant 3.0% decrease from the previous year.

73.0% of children in Year 3-11 'can self-rescue', a significant 2.8% decrease from the previous year and only 65.7% of children in Year 1-2 'loves swimming', a significant decrease of 4.0% from the previous year.

Tags: Active Lives Survey, Children, Young People