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Children aged 7-9 are the least active

by | Dec 21, 2022 | News

Sport England have just released the latest Children and Young People Active Lives Report for the 2021-22 academic year. This is the first report since 2018-19 that doesn’t include a period of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, however it does contain the period where the Omicron variant was of concern.

Across England, 47% of children and young people met the Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines, which recommend an average of 60 minutes of physical activity each day. This level of activity is the same as pre-pandemic levels (47%) that were reported in 2018-19.

Overall, this suggests that across England activity levels have recovered since the beginning of pandemic.

Not all age groups have seen activity levels recover

Levels of activity among children and young people have returned to pre-pandemic levels across most age groups. However, this isn’t the case for those in school years 3-4 (aged 7-9). In this group, activity remains almost 5% lower than the pre-pandemic level (2018-19).

In 2021-22, just 39% of children in years 3-4 did enough physical activity to meet the recommended guidelines. This is the lowest level of all age groups.

Recovery has been driven by boys

Compared to last year (2020-21), the percentage of boys being active for an average of 60 minutes each day has increased by 5%. For girls, this increase has been just 2.5%. Overall, boys are driving the recovery in activity levels and unfortunately, this means that we see a widening gender gap.

Tackling this within County Durham

At County Durham Sport, we noticed this pattern of inactivity among girls, and particularly among girls in years 3 and 4. We are currently working with Go Well to establish the Girls’ Network. This network brings together partners to tackle these issues in County Durham and support girls to be active in a way that suits them.

If you are interested in this work, or perhaps want to become part of the Girls’ Network, the next meeting will be held on Friday 20th January. Get in touch with us at if you are interested in joining in.