Activity Levels in Children and Young People Bounce Back Following Covid

Sport England has published the latest official statistics from the Active Lives Children & Young People Survey from September 2021 to end of August 2022.

The annual survey provides the most comprehensive insight and data into the physical activity levels of children and young people (aged 5-16) across England.

The data for Cornwall was very positive with a 12.7% increase from 2020/21of children achieving the Chief Medical Officers Recommendations of 60 active minutes per day. This also takes us 4.6% above rates back in 2017/18 when the survey started.

Currently 49% (32,600) of children in Cornwall are achieving the national recommendation and shows that children & young people’s activity levels have recovered back to pre-pandemic levels.

Tim Marrion, Children, Young People and Families Lead at Active Cornwall commented ’The statistics show we are moving in the right direction following a difficult period for children and young people and are due to an amazing combined effort from all partners in Cornwall to ensure ALL children & young people can access the benefits that sport and physical activity bring. 

From those working in our education system to those delivering holiday programmes in local communities everyone has really come together over the past year to put together an offer that is relevant to the youth of today and engages them in something that is not just active but also great fun!’

That said, Cornwall still has 29.4% (19,500) of children who are less active and not achieving 30 minutes of activity per day. Significant inequalities do remain, with the activity levels of children aged 7-9 remaining lower than prior to the pandemic nationally, nearly 16,000 (21.3%) children eligible for benefits related free school meals and 1 in 3 children leaving primary school classed as obese so we all have plenty still to do!

Sport England continued to see a strong positive association between activity levels and mental wellbeing: more active children & young people continue to experience higher levels of wellbeing, despite the decline in mental health across the pandemic. 

Physically literate children are more likely to be active and to have higher levels of mental wellbeing, but physical literacy levels are yet to recover following the pandemic.

Active Cornwall along with Sport England believe that physical activity is central to happy and healthy lives, and positive experiences at an early age help build the foundations for an active life, so we are all determined to help provide the best opportunities for children and young people to be active in the way that best works for them.

For more information on the Active Lives Survey for Children and Young People and this data please visit –


For further information please contact:

Tim Marrion – Children Young People and Families Lead
Active Cornwall

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