London kids less active post-pandemic


A report from London Sport reveals that fewer than half of young Londoners are doing enough physical activity – and suggests that the prohibitive cost of after school activities and sports clubs is likely to exacerbate this in the face of the cost-of-living crisis.

Activity levels for children and young people in London remain below pre-pandemic levels, with only 45 per cent of young Londoners meeting the recommended levels of sport and physical activity.  A new report published by charity London Sport – using Sport England’s Active Lives Children and Young People Survey – shows that London is still lagging behind the rest of the nation for 5–16-year-olds’ activity levels. Over 600,000 children in this age range are not doing enough physical activity for their health and wellbeing.  

Activity levels are assessed based on children and young people meeting the Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines of taking part in an average of 60 minutes or more of sport and physical activity a day.  

The London data reveals stark inequalities: children from the least affluent families are 14 per cent less likely to be physically active compared to those from the most affluent families. Children from black, Asian, and other ethnicities are least likely to be active, with only 39 per cent of black children and 40 per cent of Asian children and young people in the capital considered active. And 49 per cent of boys are considered active vs only 41 per cent of girls.

It is still unclear what the full impact of the cost of living crisis will have on activity levels, but it is likely to have increased the barriers to activity for both children and adults, particular in the most deprived areas of the city. A recent Savanta poll showed that nearly half of Londoners spent less on children’s activities or after school clubs in the last six months, suggesting that it is already becoming more difficult for children to access physical activity.  

Emily Robinson, Chief Executive Officer at London Sport said:

While there was a slight uplift in activity across England, we are still far behind where we want to be in London. The fact remains that less than half of young Londoners are doing the recommended levels of activity each week, which will in turn have a direct impact on their health and wellbeing.”  

For more information and to access the report on London Sport click here.

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