National data indicates that activity levels have recovered following the impact of the pandemic, however below the headline data, it is clear that inequalities are widening.
- NS SEC 1 and 2 recorded the highest ever activity levels but lower groups are declining, with no sign of recovery
- Within NS SEC 8 (long term unemployed) less than half are active
- The same inequality applies to most deprived geographic areas
- NS SEC groups 6-8 – perceived ‘opportunities and capability’ to be active is also much lower
- Income inequality is also growing due to the cost-of-living crisis, affecting lower groups most.
- Men’s activity levels were affected most by the pandemic but have now fully recovered
- Women’s activity levels were affected less by the pandemic but have been slower to recover -although they are on an upward trend
- Women saw greater drops in wellbeing – which may explain slower recovery in activity levels.
- Perceived ‘opportunity to take part’ is lower for women
- White British people were the largest sample size (which may have some influence on the data) but results show inequalities are widening. Only ‘white British’ group is showing significant increases in activity levels.
- There are differences within ethnic categories e.g. Indian population showing greatest long-term decline, but particularly Pakistani people. Caribbean is the least active group of black ethnicities.
- Activity levels of those with disability / long term conditions have recovered except for mental health conditions.
- Older groups show full recovery with 75+ showing highest ever levels
- Younger adults: 16 -24 showing long term downward trend particularly those in higher education (Reasons included: Time for study, workload, stress, motivation managing study, other interests) and the least affluent (reasons including looking after siblings, earning money for household)
- Positive attitudes towards being active have recovered for 16-34 age group.
- Mental wellbeing scores are lower and have deteriorated the most in young adults (pandemic / cost of living / employment / environmental). Activity is likely to help them, but this age group are seeking instant dopamine hits e.g. tv, scrolling social media as quick fixes for wellbeing.
- Increase in those aged 16-24 reporting a disability or long-term health condition – which could explain some of the declining rates in participation (as we know activity levels are typically lower). These are not completely mental health issues, but they form a large part. The data shows they have higher anxiety and lower life satisfaction = lower mental wellbeing scores.
- Volunteering has been slower to recover
- People are volunteering more frequently -perhaps to compensate for overall lack of volunteers
- Cost of living perhaps having an impact – with less able to volunteer.
- These are a positive set of results in terms of overall recovery.
- Long term drops in wellbeing are a concern – cost of living impacting.
- Outdoor activity is growing
- Indoor activity remains down but is recovering – facility issues are still impacting
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