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Home > Adults Active Lives Survey 2020-21 results released

Adults Active Lives Survey 2020-21 results released

The latest release of the Sport England Active Lives Survey for England show how Covid-19 has reduced physical activity levels nationally, and in Sussex.

The survey was carried out nationally, in the 12 months from May 2020 to May 2021, which includes periods of national and tiered restrictions, and asked adults aged 16 and above, how much physical activity they took part in.

‘Active’ adults are those meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guideline of 150+ minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise. ‘Fairly active’ adults are those doing between 30 and 149 minutes per week. ‘Inactive’ adults are those doing less than 30 minutes per week.

You can view the results for each local authority on the Active Sussex website here.

Read the full Sport England Active Lives Survey report here.

Covid-19 increases inactivity levels in Sussex

Physical inactivity levels in Sussex increased by 2.5% in the 12 months to May 2021. Nationally, and locally, activity levels had been gradually increasing prior to Covid-19. The impact of the pandemic and lockdown saw a decrease in physical activity levels among every group.

Women, young people aged 16-24, over 75s, people in deprived and urban areas, disabled people and people with long-term health conditions, and those from Black, Asian, and other minority ethnic backgrounds were most negatively impacted over the survey period. Active Sussex is providing targeted support to these groups through the Tackling Inequalities Fund and Children and Young People Investment Fund.

The totals for Sussex as reported in the May 2020-21 Active Lives Survey are:

  • 876,300 Active people (150+ minutes per week of moderate intensity activity)
  • 154,100 Fairly Active people (30-149 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity)
  • 337,200 Inactive people (less than 30 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity)

Areas of inactivity in Sussex

There is significant variation in activity levels across the county with factors such as age, deprivation and disabilities and long-term health conditions affecting people’s likelihood of being active.

  • West Sussex has recorded a rise in inactivity both on the same period 12 months ago and on the survey baseline of Nov 15-16, although both are within the margin of sampling error. Crawley reported the highest inactivity rate in Sussex in this survey period, perhaps due to the financial impact of reduced operations at Gatwick Airport.
  • Brighton and Hove has mirrored the trend of a significant increase in inactivity, albeit from a base of low inactivity rates. Brighton and Hove has previously ranked among the 10 local authorities with the lowest inactivity rates in England. It falls to 146th in this ranking. This may be due to the deprived areas in the city. People in deprived areas have struggled to recover their previous activity levels.
  • East Sussex, conversely has recorded a reduced inactivity rate in line with the steady improvements that had been showing in the county since 2018. This is the fifth survey period in a row that inactivity has fallen in East Sussex.

For local authority data and interpretation please visit the Insight section of the Active Sussex website.


For more information on insight please contact Mac Ince, Insight Officer, Active Sussex, E:

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