Sporting Equals CEO Statement Response to Active Lives Survey May 20-21 (October 2021)

Dyslexia Friendly version 

Plain Text version 

Original statement in full: 

Recently the Sport England May 20-21 Active Lives Survey (October 2021) report was published and while we anticipated drops in terms of activity for all communities, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic; we were surprised to see huge drops in specific ethnically diverse communities. The Sport England May 20-21 Active Lives Survey (October 2021) highlighted that the impact of the pandemic has disproportionately impacted Black and Asian adults. With only 52% of Black adults and 48% of Asian adults are meeting the Chief Medical Officer guidelines for activity levels compared to 61% of the whole population.

While this trend in both communities is incredibly disappointing, the impacts of the pandemic have clearly created deeper health and wellbeing inequalities for Black and Asian communities in England. We were curious to see how intersectional aspects such as gender, race and ability have intersected and fed into the growing health inequalities in Black and Asian communities.

  • The most significant drops in activity occurred in Black males (-9.0%) and Asian males (excluding Chinese; -6.5%), compared to drops of only -1.6% in White British males.
  • Women of Black and Asian (excluding Chinese) ethnicities remain the least active and have the largest gender gap to males with the same ethnicity.
  • The overall data including specific data for ethnically diverse communities with a disability or long-term health condition has not been uploaded to the online toolset from Sport England to survey and a breakdown of ethnically diverse communities with disability or long-term health conditions weren't provided in the report.
  • However, previous data from the Active Lives Nov 19-20 survey showed that Black and Asian (excluding Chinese) respondents who have a disability or long-term health condition were least active, with 45% of Black respondents and 45% of Asian (excluding Chinese) respondents being inactive.

We will be very interested to see if and how the gap has increased or decreased for ethnically diverse communities who have a disability or long-term health condition during the pandemic once the data is made available.

Although the whole of England suffered issues with inactivity specific communities, particularly nuanced groups belonging to the protected characteristics (Equalities Act 2010) have suffered through comparatively greater disproportionate deprivation. Large drops in activity were sustained throughout the pandemic for both Black and Asian (excluding Chinese) adults, gender gaps persisted for ethnically diverse communities especially when compared to white counterparts and previous data collected highlighted a similar landscape for ethnically diverse disabled respondents. Seeing the consistent and growing negative trend in activity across the protected characteristics we identified one very clear commonality – race. We are now forced to ask the question, what are we as a sport and physical activity sector going to do to address these growing tends of inequalities and disparities?

How will we as a sector take this shocking and appalling data and translate this into interventions, actions to create more effective outcomes for the growing negative health inequalities. During the Sporting Equals Race Equality Event 2021 we highlighted that inactivity was an issue for these specific communities and further intersectional nuances. We have been working to advocate for stronger commitment from the sector to reflect and act on delivering race equality. Whether this has been our campaigns for 20% ethnically diverse board representation, terminology or more recently working with the Sport Monitoring Advisory Panel to launch the Race Representation Index to get a better understanding of representation within the workforce. There has been good support for this work, but we need greater commitment from the sector to the agenda of race equality in sport and physical activity if we are to correct the currently negative trending data which impacts communities on the ground.