Sport England’s latest analysis uncovers five key findings about children and young people's motivations towards getting active
Posted: Thu, 21 Mar 2019 09:41
Enjoyment is the single biggest factor in motivating children to be active, new analysis from Sport England's Active Lives Children and Young People Survey has revealed.
More than 130,000 children and young people were surveyed in the academic year 2017/18, with participation figures published in December.
This new analysis has identified five key findings that give us further insight into the attitudes of children and young people towards sport and physical activity.
The five key findings are:
1) Physically literate children and young people are more likely to be active
Physical literacy has five elements – enjoyment, confidence, competence, understanding and knowledge. The more elements present, the more active a child or young person is likely to be.
2) Enjoyment is the biggest driver of activity
While all of the reported attitudes make a difference, enjoying sport and physical activity makes the biggest difference to activity levels.
3) Physically literate children and young people are happier, more resilient and more trusting of other children and young people
The more elements of physical literacy present, the higher the levels of happiness, resilience and social trust.
4) Physical literacy declines with age
As children and young people grow older, they report lower levels of enjoyment, confidence, competence and understanding.
5) There are important inequalities that must be tackled
Girls and those from less affluent families are less likely to enjoy being active.
Currently, around three million children and young people (43.3%) are active, but a third of children (32.9%) are less active, doing less than 30 minutes of activity a day (29.2% in North Yorkshire).
This information comes at a crucial time, given the imminent release of the Government's School Sport Action plan, its green paper on preventing long-term health conditions, and the plans to use physical activity to integrate communities and reduce childhood obesity.
And now Sport England Chief Executive, Tim Hollingsworth, is calling for everyone involved in a child's activity level to ensure that enjoyment is at the heart of anything they do.
"This is a critical moment for all of society to better understand what will motivate young people to get active," he said.
"This survey gives us the richest evidence yet that sport and physical activity for children needs to be fun and enjoyable above all.
"The fact that a third of children aren't nearly as active as they need to be, demonstrates we need to do things differently if we want to build a generation of young people who want to take part in physical activity as children and into adulthood.
"With previous research showing that active children have better levels of attendance and achievement, we must prioritise physical literacy with the same vigour that we address numeracy and literacy. Doing so could not only help teaching and learning outcomes, it could be hugely beneficial for the physical and mental health of our children.'
David Watson, North Yorkshire Sport CEO said, "The previous results of the Active Lives Survey for children and young people showed us that in York and North Yorkshire young people are above the national average in terms of meeting the 60 minutes a day minimum level of physical activity."
"What the new findings show us is that enjoyment of sport, and physical literacy are absolutely key to many aspects of our younger population such as their happiness and resilience, but also that there is still more work to do where inequalities exist."
"We will continue to work closely across our network with partners, schools, teachers, clubs the physical activity workforce and the programmes we run to identify new ways to ensure that the right opportunities and conditions exist for young people to maximise their enjoyment whilst being active."