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More than a quarter of the population inactive, reveals new Active Lives Survey

By Matthew Campelli    26 Jan 2017
More than 11m people did less than 30 minutes physical activity per week / Djomas/Shutterstock.com

Sport England has ushered in a new era of data collection by publishing its first ever Active Lives Survey results, which revealed that a quarter of the population is totally inactive.

Replacing the often-maligned Active People Survey, Active Lives takes into account people’s patterns of behaviour over a 12 month period as opposed to the four week block its predecessor used to measure.

It also counts activities such as cycling for travel, walking for leisure and dance, as well as traditional sports and physical activity.

Headline figures covering the 12 month period from November 2015 revealed that while the majority of the population (60.7 per cent, or 27m) are physically active for 150-plus minutes a week, there were 11.3m (25.6 per cent) who did less than 30 minutes activity per week.

These are the people Sport England has been tasked to reach under requirements laid out in the government’s Sporting Future strategy.

The quango has earmarked £250m (US$315.4m, €294.2m) over the next four years to concentrate on getting the inactive active.

Of Sport England’s sample of 198,911 participants, it was found that the most inactive people in society were long-term unemployed or had never worked at all. More than a third (37 per cent) took part in less than 30 minutes physical activity per week.

Those in managerial and professional occupations were less likely to be inactive (17 per cent).

Walking for leisure was the most popular activity (41 per cent) for adults taking part in at least 30 minutes of physical activity, twice per week over 28 days.

Sport (35 per cent), walking for travel (32 per cent) and general fitness (31 per cent) were also popular for physically active people.

Even when taking into account the added activities, a gender gap was still prevalent, with 27 per cent of females (6.1m) inactive compared to 24 per cent (5.3m) of males.

Those with disabilities were also more likely to be inactive, with a direct correlation between the number of impairments a person has and rising inactivity levels.

Disabled people with one impairment were less inactive (34 per cent) than those with three or more impairments (51 per cent), for example.

To read the full report, click here.

Sport England  participation  Active Lives 
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