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London figures for activity remained stable in the year to November 2019
London figures for activity remained stable in the year to November 2019

Press release -

Londoners’ physical activity levels remains among the highest in the country

New data released today (Thursday 23 April) by Sport England on physical activity rates across the country shows that, prior to the covid-19 outbreak, Londoners’ physical activity levels remained among the highest in the country.

While the overall number of Londoners meeting Chief Medical Officer guidelines of 150 minutes of regular physical activity remained static at 64.5% against a national average of 63.3%.

The boroughs of Enfield and Sutton both showed a marked decrease in the number of residents doing less than 30 minutes of activity a week.

The research, which was conducted in the 12 months to November 2019, showed an 8.6% fall in the number of inactive people in both Enfield and Sutton.

Sutton also saw the percentage of people meeting the full Chief Medical Officer (CMO) guidelines (150 minutes of activity a week) rise by 13.9%; the biggest increase in any London borough.

Bexley in the south-east of the capital was the only London borough to register a statistically significant fall in the number of active residents.

While London’s overall figures paint a positive picture in comparison to national averages, the fact that increases in physical activity rates have stalled over the past year reaffirms the importance of focusing efforts on individuals and communities that most need support to take part in regular physical activity.

Commenting on the London data, Daniel Stracey, London Sport Senior Insight Manager, said:

“We can be rightly encouraged that, prior to the covid-19 outbreak, London remained on course to be among the most physically active areas of the country. 

"What this data serves to highlight, though, is that, for certain communities and people in London, physical activity is simply not a regular part of their daily lives.

“Our own recent research into the attitudes and behaviours of less active Londoners shows clearly the deep and complex challenges that some Londoners face when considering how to regularly take part in physical activity and sport.

"This Active Lives data serves as a timely reminder of the importance of our decision to focus efforts on overcoming those deep-seated barriers, so that more people across London are able to enjoy the benefits of living an active life.”

The national impact of the ongoing covid-19 pandemic is not yet clear though early indications suggest a trend for those in lower socio-economic groups to be less active is continuing.

Announcing the national findings, Sport England Chief Executive, Tim Hollingsworth, said:

“We’re aware there are risks that this period (covid-19) could halt the increase in activity seen in recent years, as well as worsening existing inequalities.

“The true nature of this (coronavirus crisis) and its impact on the nation’s future activity and the ability of the sector to support that, is still unknown.

“But it is what anyone with an interest in sustaining the nation’s wellbeing, and the positive impact that sport can have on society, needs to start thinking about now.

“How we shape our collective response to this challenge will not only determine future participation levels, but also give us the opportunity fundamentally to address and reverse those inequalities.”

For more information on the national figures from Sport England, click here.

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About London Sport

London Sport aims to make London the most physically active city in the world. Supported by the Mayor of London and Sport England, our target is to get Londoners more physically active.

For more information on London Sport, visit www.londonsport.org

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London Sport aims to ensure Londoners live happier, healthier lives through sport and physical activity

About London Sport

London Sport aims to ensure more Londoners live happier, healthier lives through sport and physical activity. Supported by the Mayor of London and Sport England, our target is to get Londoners more physically active.

For more information on London Sport, visit www.londonsport.org

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