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Active Lives Survey – Children and Young People

The Active Lives Children and Young People Survey, carried out nationally throughout the school year, asks children aged between 5 and 16 years old about how much physical activity they take part in, both in and out of school.

The Active Lives Children and Young People Survey, carried out nationally throughout the school year, asks children aged between five and 16 years old about how much physical activity they take part in, both in and out of school. You can browse the Sussex results by local authority below.

Unfortunately the Covid-19 pandemic interrupted survey collection in academic years 2019-20 and 2020-21 so local data is not always available for these years.

You can find Sport England’s detailed national report here.

Watch our video for an overview of the 2020-21 results in Sussex.

Interpreting the results for your area

The proportion of children in each activity bracket is shown below. The short black bars indicate the confidence intervals for each result, ie where the ‘true’ rate is likely to lie between. Smaller sample sizes mean wider confidence intervals.

The Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines count children doing an average of 60+ minutes of activity a day across the week as ‘Active’. Those who do an average of between 30 and 59 minutes a day are counted as ‘Fairly active’ and children doing less than 30 minutes a day on average across the week are counted as ‘Less active’.

The 2020-21 Results showed that:

  • 45% of children and young people in Sussex lead active lives, the same proportion as nationally. This equates to 88,900 active children and young people in Sussex.
  • 25% of children and young people in Sussex (49,400) are fairly active.
  • 31% of children and young people in Sussex (61,600) are less active, a slightly lower rate than the national average.

1,783 children and young people responded to the survey in Sussex in 2020-21. This was a much lower response rate than previous years due to the impact of Covid-19. Around 80 schools are randomly selected each term to complete the survey. Schools which complete the survey receive a bespoke report with a breakdown of activity levels in their school, £100 of sports equipment, and are eligible to receive a Healthy Schools Rating.

The information on at-school and out-of-school activity rates by local authority is not available at local authority level for 2019-20 and 2020-21 due to the impact of Covid-19 and school closures on survey collection. You can view this data for previous years below.

Activity rates at school

Government guidelines say that children and young people should get 30 minutes of their daily physical activity at school and 30 minutes outside of school. Only 42.5% of children and young people in Sussex are active for on average 30 minutes per day at school in Sussex. The majority (57.5%) of children and young people in Sussex do an average of less than 30 minutes a day of activity in school.

This lack of activity at school is highest in Years 1-2 and lowest in Years 7-11. Primary schools have higher reported inactivity at school than secondary schools.

Activity rates outside of school

56% of children and young people in Sussex are active on average for 30 minutes per day outside of school. This equal to the national average.

41.6% of children and young people in Sussex are active for less than 30 minutes on average per day outside of schools. This is similar to the national average of 42.8%.

Years 1-2 were reported to be the most active outside of school. Secondary school students have higher reported inactivity outside of school than primary school students.

Activity rate by Primary/Secondary

Half of primary school children in Sussex were active every day, or active across the week. This was slightly higher than the average for the South East. One in four primary school children were active for less than 30 minutes per day on average.

44% of secondary school students in Sussex were active every day, or active across the week. Again this was slightly higher than the average for the South East, but there does seem to be a fall in activity between primary and secondary school. One in three secondary school students were active for less than an average of 30 minutes a day.

Henry McLaughlin

Insight Officer

Henry analyses activity data to provide Active Sussex and partners with the insight needed to help people become more active.