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Nearly half of UK adults unhappy with their work life balance

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Nearly half of UK adults aged 16 and over are currently unhappy with their work life balance, according the latest findings from the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) Measuring National Wellbeing programme. Interestingly, those that use their leisure time to engage in sport and physical activities seem to be happier than those who prefer sedentary leisure pursuits - such as watching TV, playing video games and socializing with friends.

The latest figures from ONS show that in 2010-11, 54.1 per cent of adults aged 16 and over in England had participated in some type of sport or physical activity in the four weeks before they were interview for the Measuring National Wellbeing survey. A higher proportion of men (61.8 per cent) participated than women (46.7 per cent). However, the most commonly reported free time activity by adults in England is still watching TV (87.6 per cent). This is important as we know that sitting still for long periods of time can pose a big health risk even if people are physically active.

The Taking Part survey shows that in England in 2010/11, 54.1 per cent of adults, aged 16 and over had participated in some type of sport or recreational physical activity in the last four weeks while 71.7 per cent had done so in the last 12 months. A higher proportion of men participated in sport or recreational physical activity than women, both in the last four weeks (61.8 per cent compared with 46.7 per cent) and in the last 12 months (77.7 per cent compared with 65.9 per cent). In England in 2010/11, the top sport or recreational physical activities undertaken in the last four weeks were attending the gym (14.6 per cent); indoor swimming (14.4 per cent); cycling (10.6 per cent); running (7.6 per cent); keep fit, (7.1 per cent); and outdoor football (7.1 per cent).

In England in 2010/11, 89.7 per cent of all children had participated in sport in the last four weeks prior; 85.4 per cent of 5- to 10-year-olds and 94.5 per cent of 11- to 15-year-olds. These figures are not significantly different to 2008/09. Swimming, diving or lifesaving was the most common sport amongst 5- to10-year-old children, with almost half (48.3 per cent) of all children in this age group doing this in the last four weeks. 

More than a third had played football (35.9 per cent), and more than a quarter (28.0 per cent) had been cycling. Football was the most common sport amongst 11-to 15-year-olds, with half (50.0 per cent) of all children this age group having played in the last four weeks. Basketball (27.3 per cent) was the second most common, followed by swimming, diving or lifesaving (26.6 per cent).

Obtaining the correct balance between work and home can help increase and maintain levels of well-being. In April and June 2011, 48.4 per cent of adults aged 16 and over in Great Britain reported relatively low satisfaction with their work-life balance (between 0 and 6 on a scale of 0 to 10).

The full report can be found here http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/wellbeing/measuring-national-well-being/what-we-do/art-what-we-do.html