Children's sports participation in the United Kingdom (UK) - Statistics & Facts

Children in the United Kingdom (UK) take part in a wide variety of sports and physical activities with tendencies towards different types as they mature. Overall sports participation, meaning in any type of sport or activity, was recorded for 86 percent of 5- and 15-year-olds. When asked in an annual survey whether they liked playing sports, 29 percent stated they did and the majority of 61 percent said they loved it. Over a third of children are active across the week and almost one fifth are active on a daily basis. In Wales, two out of three children get at least one hour of any type of physical activity in daily.

No matter the ethnical background, children enjoy taking part in sport equally across the board. Apparently boys are slightly more active than girls but only to a marginal degree. Among children aged 5 to 10 in England, swimming is the favorite sport, followed by football. This shifts as they grow older and children between the age of 11 and 15 favor football over swimming. Children in Northern Ireland also stated swimming and football to be their favorite sport, both on a monthly as well as on an annual basis.

Children tend to favour sports that are competitive, or perhaps most types of sport just follow a competitive nature. Other than football, many types are ball sports such as tennis, rugby, dodgeball or netball. Others are physical activities such as cycling, skateboarding, dancing or fishing. The importance of sport and physical activity for children grows as the modern food industry led to increased consumption of processed foods, high in fats and sugars, causing a rise in child obesity in the UK over the past 30 years of over 300 percent.

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Children's sports participation in the United Kingdom (UK)

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Ball sports

Other physical activites

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