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New Game of Life report makes the case for sport to play a more fundamental part in society

October 16, 2012

The launch of a new report from the Sport and Recreation Alliance 'Game of Life'.  Examines how Sport and Recreation can make us 'Healthier, Happier and Richer', explores how sport and physical activity can help improve health, enhance educational attainment and bring communities closer together.

The evidence contained in the report serves to highlight the power of sport as a public policy tool and shows its potential to help Government tackle issues including obesity and antisocial behaviour. Crucially, the report also looks into the importance of PE and sport in aiding the physical, mental and social development of children and young people. It calls for all young people to be involved in sport, and argues that Government should focus on getting young children physically active.

The Game of Life report brings together, for the first time, all of the best evidence to support those gut feelings we have about sport. But it is also even-handed, pointing out where the evidence is patchy or where more research is required.

In many cases, the evidence proves the point outright, in others it points the way towards an answer without establishing it conclusively. Put together, however, the case for leading a more active lifestyle is compelling – both personally and societally. Sport and recreation is not a panacea, but as this evidence volubly demonstrates, it can certainly be a significant part of the solution.

This research outlines the evidence that exists which shows how more activity can have huge effects on our society:

  • burning 2000 kcal per week reduces coronary mortality by between a quarter and a third
  • for every 500 kcal of extra energy spent per week your likelihood of type 2 diabetes is 6% less
  • exercise can be as effective as anti-depressants for those with mild clinical depression
  • elderly people with low physical activity levels have more than twice the risk of Alzheimer’s
  • seven out of ten teenagers believe antisocial behaviour occurs because they are bored and while each young offender costs the country £47,000 per year, targeted sport projects can cut re offending rates dramatically

The Sport Recreation Alliance believe we need to encourage people to be more active and to be more active from an earlier age. They talk about how the Government’s current emphasis on youth sport and school club links moves us in the right direction, but too slowly.

They believe that children younger than the target age group should be doing quality sport at school and teachers should be aiming to provide activities every day to engrain good habits.

They state that sports clubs should be playing an integral role in this provision because of the other social and community benefits the evidence tells us they provide. And national governing bodies of sport and recreation are in the perfect place to deliver their activities through clubs if the Government ensures that that is their priority.

The Game of Life research is split into the following chapters:

  • Physical Health
  • Mental Health
  • Education and Employment
  • Antisocial Behaviour and Crime
  • Social Cohesion

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Download the full Game of Life report.

Download the executive summary and introduction to the Game of Life.

Download the impact of sport and society of the Game of Life infographics.

Download the references for the Game of Life.