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1. Introduction

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  2. 1. Introduction

The State of the Nation Report explores the findings from the ‘Sport and Active Lifestyles’ section of the National Survey for Wales, 2021-2022. 

The National Survey for Wales (NSW) is a large-scale, random sample household survey of adults (ages 16-years and above) from across Wales. This survey is implemented by Welsh Government on behalf of public bodies in Wales. 

Prior to 2016, Sport Wales ran an independent survey, called ‘The Active Adults Survey’. Since then, large scale public-body surveys have been brought together to improve efficiency in data collection across Wales, forming the National Survey for Wales as it is today. Subsequently, Sport Wales survey questions are now embedded within the NSW, called the ‘Sport and Active Lifestyle’ section of the survey.

Methodology of the National Survey for Wales

The National Survey for Wales is ongoing, with data collected continuously throughout the year to avoid seasonal bias within the results. 

Each Spring, a new cycle begins, and data from the previous 12-months is analysed to produce an annual summary of behaviour amongst adults in Wales. The data is then weighted to represent the characteristics of the overall population in Wales, equating to approximately 2.5 million adults. Headline results are published by Welsh Government during the summer months.

Headline findings and background information are available on the Welsh Government website: National Survey for Wales | GOV.WALES.

Key information: 

In 2021-22, 12,500 adults (Ages 16+) across Wales took part.

The “Sport and Active Lifestyles” section of the survey focussed on participation and demand in “Sport and Physical Activity”. These survey questions are available online (Pages 130-143). 

In this report, the term “Sport and/or Physical Activity” refers to the activities listed in Appendix 7.1.

To collect participation figures, respondents were asked about their sport and physical activity behaviour within the “…previous four weeks”, as this provides an indication of typical behaviour for that individual. 

The questions within this section of the survey allow the ability to report on the “Percentage of people participating in sporting activities three or more times a week”. This is a National Indicator (No. 38) for the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.  

The next National Survey (2022-23) is currently taking place across Wales.  ‘By April 2023, another annual cycle of data collection will have concluded. The next set of comparable results are likely to be released during the Summer’

Important Changes to the 2021-22 National Survey for Wales:

Due to differences in methodology used, results from the Sport & Active Lifestyles section of the National Survey for Wales 2021-22 should not be directly compared with results from previous editions of the National Survey for Wales.

The 2020-21 survey cycle was adapted for use due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and so The Sport and Active Lifestyles section could not be included as original questions were designed to be asked in-person with the use of showcards. During this time, work was completed on adapting and piloting the original questions, ready for inclusion within the 2021-22 survey.

For the Sport & Active Lifestyle Section changes included:

Telephone interviews replaced a face-to-face interviewing method used previously.

Questions were revised to be better suited to delivery by telephone, such as Sport Activities being categorised into broader groups. 

Showcards could no longer be used to provide participants with a list of response options.

These changes have resulted in a break in the trend data between 2019-20 and 2021-22. In turn, comparisons over time should be limited, and treated with discretion. 

However, whilst the recent methodological changes impact upon comparisons with previous data, the new methodology is considered to produce an accurate reflection of participation and demand in sport and physical activity amongst adults in Wales.

Interpreting the data: 

It should be noted that there will be occasions throughout the report where table totals may vary despite reporting on the same topic.  This can happen when there are responses that are classed as missing data, for example, a ‘don’t know’ response.  Another example of where this could happen is where a particular question is asked to a representative sub-sample of the survey.

Percentages are rounded to the nearest percent, and population the nearest thousand. Differences between data points and their associated population groups have been highlighted throughout the report. These differences are statistically significant, unless otherwise stated.