The latest Children and Young People Active Lives Report has been released by Sport England 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.
How does County Durham compare to the rest of England?
Children and young people who are ‘active’ do an average of 60 minutes of physical activity each day, in line with the Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines. Across England, 47% of children and young people are ‘active’, compared to just 37% of children and young people in County Durham.
Children and young people who are ‘fairly active’ do 30-60 minutes of physical activity each day. Across England, 23% of children and young people are ‘fairly active’ compared to 31% in County Durham. This means we have more children and young people who are doing some activity, but not quite enough to meet the recommended amount.
Overall, in County Durham we have fewer children and young people who are considered ‘active’, but more children and young people who are considered ‘fairly active’, compared with England as a whole.
How does this compare to previous data?
When we compare this to previous years, we see that the percentage of ‘active’ children and young people in England has increased by 4 percentage points (from 43% to 47%) since 2017-18. In County Durham, we haven’t seen any significant change over this time.
More children and young people across England are ‘active’, however we haven’t seen this improvement in County Durham. This could be due to economic inequalities in the North East and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inequalities and the COVID-19 pandemic
Pre-pandemic (2018-19), 47% of children and young people were ‘active’ in England. This was the case for children and young people living in both the poorest and wealthiest areas. Throughout the pandemic, this level of activity remained relatively stable at around 47-48% for those living in the wealthiest areas of England. However, for those in the poorest areas, we saw levels of activity drop to around 40-42%.
In 2021-22, 49% of children and young people living in the wealthiest areas of England were ‘active’. In the poorest areas, this was just 44% of children and young people.
In this way, activity levels haven’t recovered to pre-pandemic levels for children and young people who live in the poorest areas in England. This may help explain the pattern of activity we see within County Durham.
If you want to find out more about the socioeconomic issues affecting children and young people in your area, our mapping tools are a great place to start! Access them here.