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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 – Uniting the Movement

Uniting the Movement is our plan to make being physically active a normal part of life for everyone in England – to make it easier for all of us as we go about our everyday lives.

Because currently, it’s not always a level playing field.

There are deep-rooted inequalities in sport and physical activity, which mean there are people who feel excluded from being active because the right options and opportunities aren’t there.

Disabled people and people with a long-term health condition are twice as likely to be physically inactive than those without a disability or health condition.

This inequality, as well as others, are at the very core of Uniting the Movement – we have a laser focus on tackling them in all that we do, because providing opportunities to people and communities that have traditionally been left behind, and helping to remove the barriers to activity, has never been more important.

Learn more about our Uniting the Movement strategy

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