Sport and physical activity must be enjoyable if we are to solve inactivity crisis

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New Sport England Active Lives Children and Young People research reveals that just half of youngsters strongly agree that being active is enjoyable. 

Responding to the findings, Emma Boggis, CEO at the Alliance said: “Like many we were very concerned about the findings reported last year when the first Active Lives Children data was published so it’s useful to have some more insight into what may be driving the worryingly low levels.   

I don’t think it’s a surprise that enjoyment plays the biggest part in dictating how active a child is, but with this insight we need to do more collectively to increase the percentage of children, from the current 51%, who strongly agree that they enjoy taking part.  

If we can make sport and activity fun for all then we will have made huge strides in tackling the current inactivity crisis. Last year we launched a new, long-term campaign calling for every child to have the fundamental #RightToBeActive. As part of that campaign we are urging government, Sport England, others across the sport and recreation sector as well as stakeholders working in education, health and youth engagement to join us to help get the next generation active. 

There is already incredible work being carried out across the country by our members and many, including Swim England, England Athletics and British Cycling have supported #RightToBeActive, but I’d urge others to join us in championing this critical issue. 

“This report highlights the importance of developing and retaining physical literacy in our young people. The upcoming School Sport Action Plan is a real opportunity for government to set a clear framework of how we can bring physical literacy onto a par with numeracy and literacy in schools. 

“Beyond this we believe we need a clear, long-term approach which reflects the scale of the challenge ahead and addresses the needs of our children within and beyond the school gates. Most importantly, we want to see children at the heart of this decision-making process.  

“To make sure we are putting our own advice into action, we have recently created a Youth Advisory Panel, which will meet for the first time next month, to help inform our future work in this area. If children are telling us they don’t enjoy what’s currently on offer, let’s all work with them to create opportunities which do meet their needs.” 

The full report is available on the Sport England website here.