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Couch potatoes, health and lifestyle activities

LSE lecturer in research methodology Dr Jonathan Jackson has produced a report with Dr Patrick Sturgis of the University of Surrey about how much people in the UK participate in culture and sport.

The report was commissioned by the Department of Media, Culture and Sport and released on 30 March 2004. The study found that the population of the UK falls into five distinct cultural categories: family day trippers; cultural slouches; cultural consumers; high culture vultures; and heritage seekers; and five distinct sporting categories: fit non-competitors; sedate competitors; couch potatoes; active competitors; and sports crazies.

Research showed that: 

  • Those who participate in sporting activities are also more likely to participate in cultural activities; and vice versa
  • For both sport and culture, the biggest single groups were of people who tend to do very little of anything
  • Higher levels of household income, education and social class usually predicted higher rates of participation in most cultural and sporting activities
  • Having taken into account household income and social class, it was found that not having access to a car or other vehicle inhibits the amount of sporting and cultural activities that individuals are able to participate in
  • There were no especially marked regional differences in participation in culture and sport.

Lead author Dr Patrick Sturgis said: 'The report reinforces the now familiar picture of sedentary Britain. The majority of people in the UK simply aren't engaging in the sort of activities that are essential to a healthy lifestyle.'

Read the full report|



1 June 2004