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Physical activity levels of children in England 2015, by age and gender

Distribution of physical activity levels among children in England in 2015, by age and gender

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Release date

December 2017


United Kingdom (England)

Survey time period

January to December 2012

Number of respondents


Age group

5-15 years

Method of interview

Face-to-face interview

Supplementary notes

* Weighted bases: n (boys) = 1,951; n (girls)= 1,876
The source provides the following information about the data:
- Meets recommendations: Physically active for at least 60 minutes on all 7 days per week.
- Some activity: Physically active for 30-59 minutes on all 7 days.
- Low activity: Fewer than 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity activity on each day, or moderate to vigorous intensity activity of 60 minutes or more on fewer than seven days in the last week.
- Excludes walking or cycling to/from school.
The structure of the questions about active travel to school differs from the structure for all other types of physical activity, since journeys were not related to specific weekdays. Thus it is not possible to combine walking and cycling to/from school with other occasions of walking and cycling in assessing the total amount of activity undertaken each day for the summary activity levels. The summary variable also excludes activity while at school, whether formal lessons or other activity. Overall, the summary variable therefore underestimates total time being physically active but probably overestimates time spent in MVPA.
Sports and activities have been classified as informal (active play) or formal, such as organised games (e.g. football, basketball). The groups of activities used for analysis in this chapter include:
- Walking (excluding walking to or from school): Walking is presented as part of the informal group of activities. It has been analysed separately as an activity of policy interest. The walks included are of any duration.
- Informal activities: Activities in this group include cycling (excluding to/from school), dancing, skating, trampolining, hopscotch, active play, skipping rope, and housework and gardening.
- Formal sports: Activities in this group include any organised team sports such as football, rugby, cricket, netball, as well as running or athletics, all types of swimming, gymnastics, weight training, aerobics and tennis.
Where the 'total physical activity' variable has been included in the tables, it is an aggregate of the grouped activities listed above.
Walking or cycling to/from school is reported separately from other walking and cycling in these analyses, because active travel to and from school is an important opportunity for physical activity by children.

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