Sport England’s new Active Lives Children and Young People Survey has shown the popularity of team sports in keeping children fit, happy and healthy - but there is also cause for real concern.
The headlines from the survey identified that 43% (3 million children) are involved in more than 60 minutes of sport or physical activity a day, every day of the week. Of course, that means that over half of all children in England aren’t hitting that minimum threshold.
The online survey of 130,000 five to 16-year-olds revealed more than 2.3 million children and young people (32.9%) are ‘less active’, that equates to fewer than 30 minutes of physical activity a day.
The popularity of team sports, particularly as children get older, was a clear indicator of its role in the overall health of the nation. By school Years 7 and 8, team sports are the most popular and remain so through to age 16.
Football, through clubs and an informal kickabout, was the stand-out sporting activity of choice but the survey also highlighted that though many children aren’t getting the amount of exercise they need, the choice available to them now is greater than in previous generations.
Opportunities to play sport differ enormously depending on many factors but from dodgeball to trampolining, children can now potentially try many more things outside of the more mainstream team sports.
In March, Sport England will publish the first results of their research on the attitudes of children to sport and activity, showing what they do and don’t like about being active.
In the meantime, for team sports, this survey shows there is much still to do to get more children playing sport whether that’s creating better links between clubs and schools, improving facilities or recruiting more volunteers to help run sessions.
What do you think?
What’s your view of Sport England’s findings and how is your club doing in attracting children and young adults into sport? Leave a comment below, tweet us @pitchero or give your thoughts on the Pitchero Facebook page.