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Disabled people

You're twice as likely to be physically inactive if you have a disability. There's no single answer to addressing this, but understanding the barriers to participation is key.

At a glance

Addressing inequalities

One in five people in England have a long-standing limiting disability or illness. Our Active Lives Adult Survey data shows disabled people are twice as likely to be physically inactive (41%), compared with those without a disability (20%).

This inequality increases sharply as the number of impairments a person has increases, with 49% of people with three or more impairments inactive. If these population disparities are not addressed, the inequalities that already exist for disabled people will increase. 

Boy in wheelchair playing hockey

A collaborative approach

It's important to understand the differing motivations and barriers for specific audiences when it comes to sport and physical activity, rather than a one size fits all approach.

Importantly, disabled people cannot be thought of as one homogenous group. A complex backdrop of economic and health inequalities magnifies the impact of barriers to getting active felt by all, such as confidence or knowing where to go, through to cost, lack of time and appropriate opportunity. This explains why there isn’t a single reason for inactivity. 

That's why we believe a collaborative approach will address the fundamental issue of reducing inactivity among disabled people. In practise, this means working in partnership with a variety of organisations across sectors who know and understand the specific audiences we want to target, including partners who we’ve traditionally not worked with. 

By ensuring investments are evidence-based, we can help deliver more opportunities for disabled people to get active.

Our strategy – Towards an Active Nation

Getting disabled people more involved in sport and activity is a crucial part of our Towards an Active Nation strategy. 

Our vision is that everyone in England, regardless of age, background or ability, feels able to take part in sport or activity.  

This ambitious strategy means we’re going to need to work in different ways to make sure everyone can get the most out of getting active.

Learn more about our Towards an Active Nation strategy

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