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Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet, England, 2020Official statistics, National statistics
- Publication Date:
- 5 May 2020
- Geographic Coverage:
- Geographical Granularity:
- Country, Strategic Health Authorities, Primary Care Organisations, Primary Care Trusts, Government Office Regions, Local Authorities, Regions, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships
- Date Range:
- 01 Apr 2018 to 31 Dec 2019
Part 5: Physical activity
The health benefits of a physically active lifestyle are well documented and there is a large amount of evidence to suggest that regular activity is related to reduced incidence of many chronic conditions. Physical activity contributes to a wide range of health benefits and regular physical activity can improve health outcomes irrespective of whether individuals achieve weight loss.
In 2019 new guidelines on the amount of activity recommended for health were published by the Chief Medical Officers of the four UK countries. This states that:
- Adults (aged 19 and over) should aim to be active daily. Over a week, activity should add up to at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity per week, or a combination of both.
- Adults should also aim to build strength on at least two days a week.
- Children and young people (aged 5 to 18) should aim to be physically active for at least 60 minutes per day across the week.
In 2015 the UK government published ‘Sporting Future’, a new strategy for sport and physical activity, which includes 23 new key performance indicators to monitor outputs.
The main data sources used in this section are:
- Adult activity data is taken from the Public Health England physical activity profiles, which is based on analysis of data from Sport England’s adult Active Lives Survey (ALS), with responses based on the 12 months to November 2019. In the ALS, gardening is excluded from the measure of physical activity, but is included in the government targets, and hence the PHE analysis. The PHE analysis is also based on adults aged 19 and over, rather than 16 and over in the ALS.
- Child activity data is taken from Sport England's Active Lives Children and Young People Survey (ALS CYP) for the academic year 2018/19. This is based on a survey of persons aged 5-16 in England, and covers measures of activity levels, physical literacy, swimming proficiency, wellbeing, self-efficacy and levels of social trust.
- Walking and cycling information is taken from the Department of Transport’s National Travel Survey, as presented in the Walking and Cycling Statistics 2018 publication. It covers persons of all ages.
Adult physical activity by age group
The most active group are those aged 19-24 with 74% considered active. After this levels remain similar (between 68% and 71%), until a decline at ages 75-84 (53% active) and age 85+ (31% active).
Adult physical activity by deprivation level
Deprivation level is based on Index of Multiple Deprivation scores for English Lower Super Output Areas, grouped into deciles.
Activity levels decrease as deprivation increases, from 73% active in the least deprived areas, to 57% in the most deprived areas.
Adult physical activity by Local Authority
Please note that Local Authority data is based on the organisational structure active on April 1st 2019.
The proportion of adults classified as active ranged from 47% to 82% across Local Authorities.
City of London, Wandsworth, Richmond upon Thames. Brighton & Hove, Bath & North East Somerset, Islington, Wokingham, and York all had proportions active above 75%.
Barking & Dagenham, Stoke-on-Trent, Sandwell, and Rotherham had proportions active of less than 55%.
Trends in walking activity
In 2018, the average number of walking stages per person per year increased, but the distance travelled remained at similar levels to previous years. On average, women made 23 more walking trips than men.
Summary of cycling activity
In 2018, the average person:
- made 17 cycling trips and 18 cycling stages.
- cycled 58 miles.
- spent about 8 minutes per week travelling by bike.
- cycled for an average of 23 minutes per trip.
Trends in cycling activity
In 2018, the average number of miles cycled slightly decreased , but the number of cycling stages remained at a similar level to previous years. Men cycle more often and further than women, taking 25 trips compared to 10 trips.
For more data/information on this section:
Childhood physical activity by family affluence
The Family Affluence Scale provides an indication of the social status of children and young people’s families. The scale is derived from a series of questions about their home and family such as car ownership, computers, and foreign holidays.
Results show some significant inequalities in activity levels, based on family income.
In total, 35% of children in the least affluent families do fewer than 30 minutes of activity a day, compared to 22% of children from the most affluent families.
For more data/information on this section: