Schools Study: Young People and Physical Activity

As part of the GoWell East study, six secondary schools in different parts of the city participated in a research project designed to investigate levels of participation in physical activity before and after the Commonwealth Games. 

What were we trying to find out?

There was a lot of activity in preparation for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. In Glasgow, some existing facilities were upgraded and new sports venues were built. Many schools and organisations, at both local and national levels, also developed ideas about using the Games as a way of drawing attention to the importance of physical activity.

We wanted to find out what these improved facilities, associated sports programmes and the high profile of the Games themselves meant for young people in Glasgow. Did we see an increase in the proportion of young people taking part in sports? 

How did we investigate? 

The study ran from 2013-2017, so that the research team could survey the same group of young people annually, throughout their secondary school career. Each year, a smaller group of pupils wore measuring devices for a few days to learn more about how much physical activity they did and where they tended to do it. This helped us to learn more about the importance of the neighbourhood environment (including access to green space and sports venues) in youth physical activity. 

Who supported the research? 

The research was supported by Glasgow City Council, the Scottish Government and sportscotland. These organisations were all interested to know how and in what way 2014 Commonwealth Games activities affected young people in the city - including those living near to and further away from the main Games venues. 

What did we do with our findings?

Every year, findings from the research study were reported to the schools and the local education authority, to help them understand what sort of activities young people in Glasgow were involved with. We could see how those activities were changing as the students progressed through their secondary school careers. Other organisations, such as the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council, and sportscotland, were also able to use the results to see how important it is to support activities for young people.