Coronavirus, an update from Active Cornwall

Children's activity levels drop in Cornwall national study shows

PE with Joe - 420

The impact of Covid-19 on children's health and wellbeing in Cornwall is being highlighted by a new report showing activity levels are down.

Sport England's latest Active Lives Children and Young People Survey demonstrates that the number of children completing 60 minutes of moderate daily activity has dropped in the last year.

The findings, released on January 14, cover the 2019/20 academic year and show a decrease from 50.8% to 48.8% - compared to 44.9% nationally.

The most worrying statistics for Cornwall are the number of 'inactive' children, which has increased by more than five per cent - equating to an additional 3,200 children. Inactive children are classed as those doing less than 30 minutes of activity per day.

However, the difference in this data is not significantly different so is classed as 'no change' from the previous year.

Active play and less formal activities are still the most popular activities with walking to school and going for walk showing an increase due to the pandemic.
Swimming data evidenced that nationally 77% of children can swim 25 meters unaided (national target) in year seven compared to 79% in Cornwall when they leave year six.

Tim Marrion Children Young People and Families lead at Active Cornwall said:"Even though the recent release from Sport England demonstrates a drop in activity levels it is positive to see that children have found new ways to be active during the current climate, it could have been a lot worse.

"However, we recognise we need to come together with a number of partners in Cornwall to address this and ensure the drop doesn't continue and effect the health and wellbeing of our children."

The data also highlights some national inequalities. Girls are still more likely to be inactive, along with children from low affluent families. Children in years three and four were significantly less active.

Covid 19 had an impact as fewer people were active in the summer term, thankfully levels were increasing during the autumn term (2019).

Thanks to the dedication and resourcefulness of parents, teachers, coaches and organisations, the drop during the period between mid-May and late-July was significantly less than it was for adults during the pandemic.

Nationally teenage boys were hardest hit by the pandemic, but girls became more active as they found alternative ways to do so. This is due to the lack of team activities aligned to where the majority of boys are active.

The main concern for children is that a positive attitude towards sport and physical activity decreased during this period especially those that feel confident and competent to be active.

Tim added:"Active Cornwall, working with a number of partners, is addressing these levels and will continue to do so by supporting the PE, School Sport and Physical Activity sector."

This will be achieved through virtual challenges, such as the Cornwall School Games, engaging with local providers and organisations to tackle inequalities, working with schools to open up their facilities for community use, delivering a programme of satellite clubs to engage with underrepresented groups and working with primary schools to make best use of the PE and School Sport Premium to respond to Covid 19.

Take a look at the Active Lives data tables from Sport England

To engage with Active Cornwall on this important agenda please contact