There are currently no specific recommendations for the duration of time spent in active play or the amount of time being active outdoors. However, outdoor and active play contributes to overall physical activity. Age specific physical activity guidelines can be found under the ‘overall physical activity level’ indicator.
Evidence suggests that children are more active when they are outside. Therefore, in the previous Report Card (2014), ‘use of the park’ was used solely to establish the grade for this indicator. For the 2016 Report Card, the Research Work Group used the proportion of children using a variety of places for play as the benchmark for grading this indicator, as well as, the percentage of children reported spending ≥ 3 hours outside playing.
A large nationally representative survey conducted by Sport Wales and a smaller but still nationwide survey on play conducted as part of the Little Voices Shouting out Report, were used by the Research Work Group to assign an outdoor and active play grade.
The School Sport Survey (2015) provides data on 115,398 children aged 7-16 years old from across Wales. Data on the proportion of children and youth using ‘streets near home or school' (43%), ‘park' (61%), ‘playground not at school' (38%), ‘playing fields at school' (48%), ‘playing fields not at school' (50%) and ‘beach/sea' (42%) for places of exercise/play in the previous year were synthesised to give an overall proportion of 47% of children and youth using at least one of these places (School Sport Survey 2015).
The Little Voices Shouting Out survey of children aged 7-11 years from across Wales reported that 18% spent 3 hours, 15% 4 hours and 27% more than 4 hours playing outside on a normal day. Therefore, 60% of children reporting spending ≥3 hours outside playing.
The grade for this indicator has not changed since 2014 although more data were available to support the 2016 grade. In the previous Report Card, ‘use of the park’ was used solely to establish the grade for this indicator. In the 2016 Report Card, the Research Work Group agreed that the proportion of children using a variety of places for play should be considered. Therefore, the use of streets near home or school, the park, playground not at school, playing fields at school, playing fields not at school and beach/sea for places of exercise/play were all taken into account during the grading process. The synthesised data of all of these places gave an overall proportion of 47% of children and youth using at least one of these places for exercise/play. This proportion falls within the C grade. The Research Work Group also concluded that 60% of children reporting spending ≥3 hours outside playing were commensurate with a C grade.