Obesity and Disadvantage

Over a third of young people between the ages of 11 and 24 in the UK are overweight or obese and nearly half do not achieve the recommended amount of physical exercise.  Almost all young people would benefit from participating in sport more often, but those from lower income households - where health inequalities are greatest and where participation in sport is lowest - would benefit most from a more active lifestyle. A young man growing up in one of the UK's disadvantaged communities is expected to die almost 15 years earlier than a more affluent peer.

The relationships between disadvantage, inactivity and obesity are complex. Obesity is not only a result of inactivity (compounded by other factors such as diet) but a major barrier to becoming active.

Many organisations, including StreetGames, reduce this sporting inequality. The latest Sport England survey data shows that since April 2012 the number of young people from the lowest socio-economic groups in England taking part in sport every week has risen by 51,100, from 1,140,600 to 1,191,700. But there is much more we can all do to help the remaining 1.2 million inactive disadvantaged youngsters to get moving. From the largest government departments to the smallest community project, organisations need to support more people to get active and to stay active. In doing so, we can create not only a healthier and happier society but a richer one too.

There is an economic cost, which this report quantifies as more than £53billion across the lifetimes of today’s young people. There is also a human cost. Inactivity is a cause of a reduced span of healthy life and early death.

Healthy Weights

For children, being overweight is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) between the 85th and 95th percentiles of all children of the same age and sex. Those children with a BMI at or above the 95th percentile are considered obese.This means that any child with a BMI in the highest 15% of the distribution for their age group and sex is considered to be at risk of chronic disease and even social and psychological problems. Over a third of all children and young people between the ages of 11 and 24 are overweight or obese.

Self-Management

A solid background in sport equips young people with the skills they need to maintain their fitness throughout their lives. Taking up sport as a child or young person is associated with an increased likelihood of physical activity into adulthood, and a reduced likelihood of disease associated with physical inactivity. StreetGames looks to equip young people through more traditional style sports and with our CLUB1 programme, which is revolutionising the way sports projects present solo sports and fitness activities to young people.

What the Science Says

Over 4.5 million 11 – 25 year olds in England do not achieve the Chief Medical Officer’s recommended levels of physical activity. The consequences of failing to address this inactivity are very serious. 17% of all deaths in the UK are due to low cardio-vascular fitness, which is the direct impact of being inactive. Almost all young people would benefit from participating in sport more often, but those from lower income households - where health inequalities are greatest and where participation in sport is lowest – would benefit most from a more active lifestyle.

You can make a difference

Sport brings huge benefits to young people’s lives. Even a small donation helps us to make those benefits available to our most disadvantaged communities.

Make a donation

StreetGames on Twitter

Sign Up To Our Newsletters

Sign up to receive the latest news and updates from StreetGames.

Sign Me Up