The purpose of the survey is to get the clearest picture yet on how physically active our nation is and use the data to help local authorities and other community partners drive increases in the numbers of people who undertake sport and physical activity, said a statment from the government body formerly known as the English Sports Council.
The survey will also enable Sport England to ensure its Everyday Sport campaign better targets those who can benefit most from exercise.
One in every 20 households in England will be contacted to take part and 350 000 people will be surveyed over the course of one year. The Active People survey, which will also provide a clear picture of participation rates among priority groups, will ensure 1000 people in every local authority area in England are questioned. The survey will be repeated in three years' time so that progress can be measured.
Roger Draper, Sport England's CEO said: “This survey will form a major part of our continued quest to develop England as an active and successful sporting nation. We have the demanding target of increasing participation in sport and physical activity by an average 1% year-on-year. This survey will enable us to measure who is and who is not active. The results will also help us develop our sports facilities investment strategy.
“To get more people physically active we must measure activity levels among the population. So while Sport England is focusing on developing our talented athletes in readiness for 2012, we are not neglecting the pressing need to ensure the population as a whole takes steps to become fitter and healthier.
“Measuring participation at this level of detail is essential if we are to succeed as an active and healthy nation. The realisation of our Olympic vision, tackling obesity and helping to create more cohesive communities all rest on establishing a clear understanding of how physically active a nation we are.
“Sport England will use this data to help communicate the value of participating in sport and physical activity. But more than that, in combination with Sport England’s innovative Active Places database, it will help ensure our investment in sporting facilities has the maximum impact and that all groups in our society are able to benefit from that investment”.
The Active People survey will commence in October. The survey will continue for a full year with results available in November 2006. Preliminary national and regional statistics will be available in February 2006.