Adults’ activity levels in England recover to pre-pandemic levels
Posted: Fri, 21 Apr 2023 10:38
Covering the period from mid-November 2021 to mid-November 2022, this report provides an update on the sport and physical activity behaviours of adults (aged 16+) in England. This is the first full year of data since November 2018-19 that had no interruptions due to Covid-19, and it shows a very welcome return to pre-pandemic activity levels for adults, as well as an overall increase of 1.5m active adults since the survey began in 2015.
However, while this overall number is positive, there are areas of concern where we will, working with partners, continue to focus our time, energy and investment. Inactivity levels are still higher than before the pandemic, women's activity levels have recovered slower than men's and the long-term decline in young people's participation in sport and physical activity continues, despite a recovery in this period.
We can also see the gap between most and least affluent continuing to grow and significant inequalities between the physical activity levels of some minority ethnic groups have widened. But overall, this release is a story of recovery - demonstrating that overall attitudes to sport and physical activity remain robust. Recovering to the levels seen before Covid-19, despite the extraordinary disruption to people's lives and sporting habits, is hugely impressive and is in no small part down to the incredible hard work and dedication of tens of thousands of clubs, coaches and organisations up and down the country.
How does this look locally across Dorset?
It is important to know what we mean by being active. The CMO recommendations for activity levels are categorised by 3 groups:
Active (at least 150 minutes a week)
Fairly active (an average of 30-149 minutes a week)
Inactive (fewer than 30 minutes a week)
The results were positive across the Dorset Local Authority, with numbers of active adults up by over 6%, with over 27,000 people more doing 150+ minutes of activity a week since 2020-21. Although there was a limited change in adults who are fairly active, there are now 44,000 fewer adults who were inactive, down by 5% from 2020-2021.
The activity levels across the BCP Local Authority were more concerning, with an overall drop in activity levels compared to 2020-2021. The number of active adults are down by 3%, meaning 6,000 fewer people are meeting CMO guidelines of 150+ minutes of activity a week. Like the Dorset Local Authority, there was a limited change in adults who are fairly active, however the number of inactive adults has increased by over 4,000, which is 25.7% of the BCP adult population.
As these results suggest, although there has been a great improvement since the pandemic, there is still a lot of work to do to help adults across Dorset become more physically active, and we will continue to take a collaborative approach to embed system changes, so that business as usual for system partners supports people to be more active.