Active Lives Children and Young People Survey 2021/22

The Sport England ‘Active Lives Children and Young People Survey’ has been released for the 2021/22 academic year. The survey presents the latest data on physical activity behaviours of children and young people (aged 5 to 16) and the impact post COVID-19 pandemic, nationally and locally. 

The Picture in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough 

  • 46.7% (54,300) of children and young people were classed as active (meeting the recommended physical activity guidelines of an average of 60 minutes a day across the week), an increase of 3.3% from the previous year. The local levels are slightly below the national average (47.2%).  
  • 28.4% (33,000) of children and young people are less active (30 minutes a day or less) and a further 24.9% (28,900) are only fairly active. These figures are similar to the national figures with 30.1% and 22.7%.  
  • Locally, the highest activity levels can be seen in Huntingdonshire (49.6% or 10,400, a 5.4% increase over last year) and South Cambridgeshire (47.1% or 10,000, a 4.1% increase). 
  • The proportion of children and young people volunteering in exercise and sport has seen an increase (4.9%) from last year to 32.6% or 23,800 (national average is 29.9%). However, this hasn’t recovered to pre-pandemic levels in 2018/19 (41.2% or 27,900), the same pattern can be seen nationally.  
Read the full report here: Active Lives Survey CYP Report 2021-22
girl learning archery


The national figures show a similar trend to the local physical activity levels. A continued positive association has been reported between activity levels and mental wellbeing. For children aged 5-7, enjoyment and competence have recovered to pre-pandemic levels. Among ages 7-16, despite small increases in some positive attitude indicators, less children and young people strongly agreed to each of the attitudes compared to pre-pandemic.  

Nationally, activity levels have generally recovered following the COVID-19 pandemic however, this isn’t universal as areas of inequalities continue to exist across England and in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. 

  • In England, a smaller proportion (44%) of children and young people from the most deprived places are likely to be active (compared to the least deprived areas at 49%).  
  • Girls continue to be less likely to be active (45%) compared to boys (50%) and other genders (47%). Although girls activity levels are now above the pre-pandemic level, boys are in line with pre-pandemic levels.  
  • Children and young people from Black (41%), Asian (41%) and other ethnic groups (42%) have lower activity levels than White British (50%), White other (50%) and mixed (47%) ethnicities. 
  • There is no difference between the proportion of children and young people with (48%) and without (48%) a disability or long-term health condition that are active.

About the Active Lives Survey 

The national Active Lives Children and Young People Survey was launched in 2017 by Sport England, the Department for Education, the Department for Health, and the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport. The purpose of the survey is to provide insight into children’s attitudes and behaviours around sport and physical activity. The results facilitate local decision making and contribute to government policy. You can find the latest national Active Lives Children and Young People Survey report here 

Living Sport is responsible for managing the completion of the survey in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Each term, schools are sampled and invited to take part in the survey. The data collected provides local level insight and contributes to the national survey data. The schools that take part in the survey receive a bespoke report, national healthy schools rating and voucher to spend on sports equipment (provided requirements are met). We would like to thank all the schools that have participated in the survey. Find out more about the local Active Lives Children and Young People Survey here. 


Our Work 

We deliver several projects in schools and within the community to support children and young people to be active and embed physical literacy behaviours. Our work has included The Daily Mile, Dragon’s Den projects, Opening School Facilities, Together Fund projects, support and delivery of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough School Games events and Inclusive Futures. 

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