Research gives insight into children’s attitudes to sport and physical activity

Wednesday 27th March 2019

Last week saw the next wave of data released as part of Sport England’s Active Lives Children & Young People Survey.  These latest results focused on how young people aged 5-16 feel about sport. Initial results released in December 2018 showed that a third of children (32.9% nationally) are doing less than 30 minutes of activity a day, with this result slightly higher in Staffordshire at 35.4%.

The five key findings of the research are:

  1. Physically literate children do twice as much activity. The more of the five elements of physical literacy – enjoyment, confidence, competence, understanding and knowledge – children have, the more active they are.
  2. 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.
  3. Children who have all five elements of physically literacy report higher levels of happiness, are more trusting of other children, and report higher levels of resilience (continuing to try if you find something difficult).
  4. 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.
  5. The results also reveal important inequalities among certain groups of children which must be tackled:These findings will be used to inform a new attitudes-led market segmentation of children and young people that can be used to inform and shape delivery design.Results further showed that 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. 47% of boys feel confident, compared to 31% of girls.) Among children aged 5-7, boys are more likely to love playing sport, while girls are more likely to love being ‘active’.

    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.

    Black children are more physically literate than other ethnic groups – driven by boys, but they’re less active than the population as a whole.

    For further findings take a look at the full report or visit the Sport England website