One in eight children don't play outdoors, report reveals

Will Metcalfe
One in eight children doesn’t spend any leisure time outdoors, according to a Natural England report. Stock image.

One in eight children never spend their leisure time outdoors, a new report has revealed.

Natural England’s monitor of the natural environment report revealed 13% of children, and 5% of young people don’t spend their leisure time outside.

The news comes at a time when childhood obesity is a widespread issue with figures released last year claiming around 30% of children and young people in the UK are obese.

However, despite the worrying figures the survey reveals most youngsters equate being outside with being happy – with 67% of children and 56% of young people agreeing that ‘being in nature makes me happy’.

Most young people spend their time outdoors with adults, a new survey has revealed. Stock image. (PA)

Of the 5,395 children and young people surveyed 72% of children had visited green spaces with 46% visiting the countryside, and 17% visiting the coast.

The report said: “While there is growing concern about the decreasing amount of time spent by children in nature, as other indoor activities such as ‘screen time’ become more prevalent these results suggest that children and young people have more frequent exposure to nature than adults.”

The report claims that the poorer the children the less likely they are to spend time outdoors with 75% of children spending leisure time outdoors at least once a week, compared to 65% of children living in the most deprived areas.

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Children from a black, asian or minority ethnic family background are less likely than their white counterparts to spend time outdoors with 57% of children from black, Asian and minority ethnic family backgrounds spend time outdoors at least once a week, compared with 73% of children from white family backgrounds.

The report suggests that even as children get older they are more likely to spend time outdoors in the company of adults than independently. Figures show that at the age of 15 45% of outdoor time is spent with adults, compared to 39% without.

Parks, playgrounds and recreation areas are among the most visited spaces while moorland is among the least visited.

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