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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/physical-activity-data-tool-november-2019-update/physical-activity-data-tool-statistical-commentary-november-2019
New in this update
New active travel data for 2017 to 2018 has been added to the Physical Activity tool on the Fingertips platform.
The following indicators have been updated, and are available at local authority level as well as for England, the regions, and various inequality groups:
- percentage of adults walking for travel at least 3 days per week
- percentage of adults cycling for travel at least 3 days per week
Summary of updated indicators
Walking for travel
This update shows that over the past 3 years, the percentage of adults walking for travel at least 3 days per week has increased from 22.7% in 2015 to 2016 to 23.1% in 2017 to 2018.
In 2017 to 2018, estimates of the percentage of adults walking for travel among local authority districts and unitary authorities in England ranged from 11.0% (Cannock Chase) to 47.5% (Westminster). Males remain more likely to report walking for travel, at least 3 days per week than females (23.8% and 22.5% respectively).
Percentage of adults reporting that they walked for travel at least 3 days per week decreases with age, from 42.2% among 16-to-24-year olds to 6.2% among those aged 85 and over. The 85 years and over age group were also the only age group to see an overall decrease in walking for travel compared to the previous year.
There are significant differences in the number of adults walking for travel when looking at different ethnic groups. Those who identified as a Mixed ethnic group reported walking for travel significantly more than those who described themselves as White British (36.4% compared with 21.9% respectively).
There was a small overall increase in the percentage of people with a disability reporting walking for travel over the 3-year period from 15.4% to 16.2%. However, the percentage of people with a disability walking for travel remained much lower than those without a disability (24.9% in 2015 to 2016 and 25.3% in 2017 to 2018).
Data for the different socioeconomic groups have been presented for the first time in this update. This data shows that a higher percentage of those who are students (46.8%) or in managerial, administrative and professional occupations (24.4%) walked for travel at least 3 days per week than those who are self-employed (17.5%), long-term unemployed or never worked (18.9%), or ‘other’ (16.4%).
Cycling for travel
This update shows that over the past 3 years, there has been no significant change in the percentage of adults cycling for travel at least 3 days a week which was 3.2% in 2017 to 2018.
In 2017 to 2018, estimates of the percentage of adults walking for travel among local authority districts and unitary authorities in England ranged from 0.1% (Wellingborough) to 35.4% (Cambridge). Males remain significantly more likely to report cycling for travel at least 3 days per week compared with females (4.8% and 1.7% respectively).
As with walking, the percentage of adults reporting that they cycled for travel at least 3 days a week showed a decrease with age, from 4.6% among 16-to-24-year olds to 0.1% among those aged 85 and over. However, the largest increase in the percentage of people cycling for travel over the last 12 months occurred in the 65-74 age group (from 0.8% to 1.0% respectively).
There were notable differences in the percentage of adults cycling when looking at different ethnic groups. Those describing themselves as White Other were the most likely to cycle for travel (6.5%), and those who described themselves as Black the least (1.4%).
The percentage of people with a disability cycling for travel has shown a small yearly decrease and remains far lower than the percentage of people without a disability cycling for travel (1.3% and 4.0% respectively).
Data for the different socioeconomic groups have been presented for the first time in this data update. The data shows that a higher percentage of students (5.2%) cycle for travel than any other socioeconomic group, and those who are long term unemployed or have never worked are the least likely to cycle for travel (1.7%).
Background and further information
This statistical commentary summarises a new data point for 2 active travel indicators available in Physical Activity tool. These indicators have been developed to support national and local monitoring of sustainable travel and to monitor levels of physical activity through walking and cycling in line with The 2017 Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.
The release presents data from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Walking and Cycling statistics for England, collated from analysis of Active Lives Adult Survey (ALAS) data collected between mid-November 2017 and mid-November 2018, using either an online or paper self-report questionnaire.
The findings presented are for individuals aged 16 and over. For more statistics and information on walking and cycling, including methodology and other walking and cycling frequencies, see the DfT’s Walking and Cycling Statistics for England.
Further details of how the indicators have been calculated are also available from the ‘Definitions’ tab within each indicator in the Physical Activity tool.
Data for the 2 active travel indicators are available for England at national, regional, county and district geographies. Additional data is also available at England level for ethnicity, disability, age, sex, and socioeconomic class. Full details can be found in the ‘Inequalities’ tab within each indicator (walking; cycling).
As part of this update, new data for inequalities and local geographies were added for 2 previous years of 2 other physical activity indicators:
This means that trend data is now available for 5 new local authorities; Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, Dorset, Somerset West and Taunton, West Suffolk and East Suffolk.
In line with this, the new classification for county and district deprivation deciles has been applied to the previous data points. Additionally, new inequalities data by level of education and deprivation deciles have also been added to the previous data points.
Physical Activity tool
The Physical Activity tool brings together data on physical activity at local level for England. It includes physical activity data; including walking and cycling, as well as information on related risk factors and conditions such as obesity and diabetes.
The aim of the tool is to help local areas monitor the health of their local population, support needs assessment, local planning and commissioning of infrastructure and services that encourage and support people to be physically active.
Responsible statistician, product lead: Craig Timpson and Hannah Moore.
For queries relating to this document, please contact: ProfileFeedback@phe.gov.uk