This report presents an analysis of equality data across the indicators from the Active Scotland Outcomes Framework. It provides a baseline from which progress can be monitored and highlights where evidence gaps exist.
The report encompasses the characteristics protected under legislation as well as socio-economic status (SES), in recognition of the impact of broader inequalities in Scotland, particularly for those living in the most deprived areas.
The Active Scotland Outcomes Framework describes Scotland’s ambitions for sport and physical activity over the next ten years. It sets out a vision and six outcomes with 19 associated indicators to enable high level assessment of progress and a commitment to equality.
The report pulls together key evidence and statistics from existing strands of work that have been undertaken on equality and physical activity to date, addresses some data gaps with further analysis of national survey data where possible and draws on wider evidence where necessary.
The main messages to emerge from this work include:
• Key at risk groups include the elderly, those with limiting conditions or disabilities, those with lower SES (particularly re sports participation and environmental factors), teenage girls and women of Asian origin.
• The inequality in sports participation by deprivation in children is widening.
• The inequality by gender in physical activity has narrowed substantially between teenage boys and girls since 2008, largely driven by girls becoming more active.
• Walking is an important leveller of inequalities but differences still exist, particularly for those with disabilities. When walking participation is not included in sports and exercise participation figures, inequalities between groups are generally much wider.
• Retirement and primary to secondary school transitions present key moments at which to influence physical activity in old age and children respectively.
• School activity becomes increasingly important as children get older. At age 13-15, less girls and boys are inactive when school activity is included and the inequality difference by age in young people has been decreasing since 2008, but only when school activity is included.
• Access to services (including leisure services) has been identified by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) as one of seven significant inequalities in Scotland. The evidence points to particular issues with use and satisfaction amongst disabled people, those aged over 60 years, ethnic minorities, people identifying with non-Christian religions, LGBT groups and people on low incomes suggesting progress is needed around facilities providing the right opportunities for diverse communities.
• The equality evidence base for physical activity is variable. There is a particular lack of data on ethnicity, sexual orientation, pregnancy/maternity and religion. Also, although there is data on disability, at present it is combined across different types of disabilities which obscures a more nuanced understanding.
• Many of the protected characteristics interact with each other. A person may have several protected characteristics and some characteristics make other ones more likely. This has not been explored in any depth in this review and is an area that would benefit greatly from further research.
The report provides a baseline from which progress can be monitored and points to where further evidence gathering is required. It also complements parallel research commissioned by sportscotland and the Equalities and Human Rights Council (EHRC) on equality and sport. Work to address inequality is required on multiple fronts as the Scottish Government and its partners develop policies and programmes in pursuit of achieving the Active Scotland outcomes and ensuring that all parts of the population are benefitting from public investment in physical activity and sport.