Activity Levels decline for Children and Young People in Suffolk

Activity Levels decline for Children and Young People in Suffolk

Posted: Fri, 15 Jan 2021 09:52

Activity Levels decline for Children and Young People in Suffolk

Research conducted by Sport England has highlighted that activity levels for Children and Young People has fallen across England during the 2019-20 academic year and this decrease has been mirrored in Suffolk with an 8.5% decrease compared to the previous academic year.

The impact of the Coronavirus restrictions throughout 2020 have been particularly severe on the amount of available opportunities for all children and young people to be active. In a separate complementary report Sport England specifically identified the negative impact on boys and children from Asian, Black, Mixed, and other ethnic backgrounds who found it hardest to remain regularly active during the pandemic.

Concerned by the obvious impact of the restrictions on physical activity levels for children and young people in Suffolk, Active Suffolk has been working tirelessly with a wide range of partners to support this age group to keep active. In particular, the successful adaptation of the School Games programme, which saw 1,800 activities undertaken by students and 40 schools take part in virtual activity in July and the fantastic "Keep Moving Suffolk" campaign.

Working with Healthwatch Suffolk, Active Suffolk commissioned an in-depth survey into children and young people's physical activity levels, motivations, barriers, and opportunities to gain a greater understanding of what the actual experience of physical activity for children in Suffolk is.

The Suffolk survey revealed that

  • The number of respondents reaching the Chief Medical Officer guidelines of an average of 60 minutes a day was low and activity levels had fallen further during lockdown.
  • Although most children reported receiving parental encouragement to remain active, 1 in 5 felt they were not supported by their parents to do so.
  • Furthermore, those children who were inactive were most likely to say their mental health & wellbeing was low; this rating increased the more physically active the children were. A similar finding was reported for children's self-esteem.

The survey findings complemented the learning generated by Active Suffolk's involvement in the Opening Schools Facilities National Pilot. Which identified the support schools require in order to successfully open their facilities for community use and to develop an effective offer for Children & Young People to use their facilities outside of school hours

Working collaboratively with a wide range of partners Active Suffolk has been developing a Children & Young People Physical Activity Strategy for the next five years, which will be launched in Spring 2021. The Strategy will shape Active Suffolk's collaborative approach with partners in this area going forward.

Tony Bush, Head of Operations at Active Suffolk said "Although we are naturally disappointed and concerned by the results of the Active Lives Survey and the predictable decrease during the pandemic, it should act as a wake-up call for everyone in Suffolk who cares about the future health and well-being of our Children & Young People. I would strongly encourage everyone who has a role to play in this area to work with Active Suffolk to enable Suffolk to improve the physical activity levels of all our children and young people."

Cllr James Reeder, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Prevention at Suffolk County Council said, "Exercise is one way we can all help our children during the unprecedented times we're living in. Because it has the power to support their physical, social and emotional development it has never been more important to ensure it's built into their daily routines. I commend the work that many organisations are doing to encourage Suffolk's children to be active and would signpost parents to www.keepmovingsuffolk.com for oodles of great ideas and resources to help them support their children."

Tags: Active Lives, Active Partnerships, Active Schools, Active Suffolk, ActiveLives, Activity, Children and Young People