Activity inequality was growing before Covid, research finds | The National

They were also more than twice as likely to have obesity by the time they were in P1 and nearly less than a quarter likely to have safe outdoor spaces to play in. Adults from more deprived families were also less than half as likely to volunteer in sport as those from less deprived families.

The study covers 2019 – the most recent year for which data is available – and indicates an overall decline in physical activity by Scottish children. It does not forecast the impact which the Covid-19 pandemic may have had on the issue in Scotland but observes that it has had a “devastating impact” on levels of child physical activity and physical fitness in some other countries.

READ MORE: Scots more likely to say wealth distribution is ‘unfair’, poll finds

Overall, the 2021 Active Healthy Kids Scotland Report Card showed that fewer than 20% of children were meeting guidelines for screen time and fewer than half took part in active transportation, such as walking or cycling. However, the research also discovered that around two-thirds of children in total had access to safe local outdoor spaces and a similar level took part in organised sport and physical activity.

The survey makes its assessments based on 11 indicators, including screen time, active play, physical fitness, diet, obesity and government policy. The researchers have called for government to ensure its policies on physical activity are implemented.

READ MORE: Poverty and inequality a top concern for Scotland, survey reveals

The study also involved the Universities of Glasgow, Stirling and Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University, the Medical Research Council and the Chief Scientist Office.

Professor John Reilly, of Strathclyde’s School of Psychological Sciences and Health, lead researcher in the study, said: “We have been publishing these report cards for 10 years now and things have got worse for children in Scotland in physical activity and health; little has got better. Screen time is massive and has grown over the years and as it has done so, it has taken time away from other things like play and time outdoors.

“We have found social inequality in relation to health behaviours and other things the report card covers, and the pandemic is likely to have just accelerated things that were already underway. For example, we suspect that socioeconomic differences in risk of obesity – which was already much more common in children from poorer families – will have widened even further during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This content was originally published here.