Children’s physical activity returns to pre-pandemic levels

KICK START Children are becoming more active, according to the report

The number of children in Kent taking part in the recommended level of physical exercise has returned to the levels seen before the Covid crisis hit. What’s more, a greater number of secondary school girls are playing football, according to a recent survey from Sport England. The Times finds out more…


Kent County Council (KCC) revealed last week that children’s activity levels in the county have returned to pre-Covid levels.

The news comes after the results of Sport England’s Active Lives Children and Young People Survey were published.

The survey covered the 2021-22 academic year, and KCC say it clearly shows that activity levels have recovered with more than 14,000 children returning to the recommended 60 minutes of sport or physical activity a day.

In Kent and Medway, 46.6% of children and young people achieved the Chief Medical Officer’s recommended level of activity.

Alongside the growth in the number of active children and young people, the survey found that activity levels among those with a disability or long-term health condition were the same as those without, secondary-age girls’ activity levels are increasing and more are playing football.

The survey provides more evidence of the benefits of getting active for mental health – active children and young people are happier, worry less and feel less lonely.

However, there are still 53.4% of children and young people who are not active enough.

To address these inequalities, Active Kent and Medway has utilised Sport England’s National Lottery investment to consult with over 2,000 young people across the county to develop tailored activities based on the needs of the least active young people.

The evaluation of this ‘youth voice’ approach clearly demonstrated the improvements in both physical and mental wellbeing. In addition to the 18% increase in the number of young people who took part in the after-school clubs becoming ‘active’, the evaluation also showed that over 50% of young people stated that their resilience and self-belief had improved.

Mike Hill, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, said: “Ensuring children and young people have opportunities to be active whatever their age, gender, ability, or circumstance is vital during these formative years. The physical, mental and social benefits are far reaching, providing positive experiences that will stay with them for life.”

Graham Razey, Active Partnership Board Chairman, said: “It is absolutely fantastic to see that so many of our children and young people are being active for the recommended time each day.

“At Active Kent and Medway our vision is more people, more active, more often, and this encapsulates what we want to achieve for those young people who aren’t currently meeting the guidelines. I am very proud that we have supported so many schools in accessing funding, and look forward to growing this agenda for the benefit of even more young people across our partnership area.”

For more information about keeping active, visit:

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