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, developed collectively with partners through the National Strategic Group for Sport and Physical Activity (NSG) and published in 2014, 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 outcomes are:
- We encourage and enable the inactive to be more active
- We encourage and enable the active to stay active throughout life
- We develop physical confidence and competence from the earliest age
- We improve our active infrastructure - people and places
- We support wellbeing and resilience in communities through PA & sport
- We improve opportunities to participate, progress and achieve in sport
The equality evidence base for physical activity is variable. Much more data is available in places, such as for age, gender and socioeconomic status. There is, however, 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, for example being disabled or from an ethnic minority (non-white) background is associated with higher likelihood of relative poverty. This has not been explored in any depth in this review and analysis on interactions in general and the implications for equality in physical activity is lacking. This is an area that would benefit greatly from further research.
As with social outcomes across Scotland and globally, the evidence gathered points to inequality of opportunities and outcomes for all groups with protected characteristics across all the Active Scotland outcomes. This is not surprising in the sense that these characteristics are protected because we know that peoples' outcomes are worse because of them. However, enhancing our evidence base will provide support to tackling these issues.
Key messages by outcome and by characteristic are summarised in Figures A and B below. Some overall main messages that have emerged from this work are:
- Key at risk groups across all the outcomes 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 by deprivation in sports participation in children is widening. This is concerning, particularly with respect to encouraging positive physical activity behaviours that can be carried through into adulthood where sports and exercise are an important contribution to total physical activity.
- The inequality by gender in physical activity has narrowed substantially between teenage boys and girls since 2008. This has been largely driven by girls becoming more active.
- School activity becomes increasingly important as children get older. The inequality difference between young teenagers' activity levels and those of 8-10 year olds has been decreasing since 2008, but only when school activity is included.
- Retirement and primary to secondary school transitions are important. Evidence highlights retirement as a key moment at which to influence physical activity behaviours in old age. For children, the transition from primary to secondary education, particularly in girls is a key point at which to try to retain levels of physical activity.
- 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. Satisfaction is related to levels of use of leisure services, with increasing satisfaction as use goes up. 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.
- Walking is an important leveller of inequalities but differences still exist. Although some inequalities are evident in both recreational walking and active travel to school, most notably for those with disabilities, when walking participation is not included in sports and exercise participation figures, inequalities between groups are generally much wider.
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.
Figure A: Key Equality Messages by Active Scotland Outcome
| We encourage and enable the inactive to be more active
|| We encourage and enable the active to stay active throughout life
|| We develop physical confidence and competence from the earliest age
| We improve our active infrastructure - people and places
|| We support wellbeing and resilience in communities through physical activity and sport
|| We improve opportunities to progress and achieve in sport
Figure B: Key Equality Messages by Protected Characteristic
|| SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND TRANSGENDER
| SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS
|| Interactions between characteristics (Intersectionality)
Email: Justine Geyer
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback