Analysis of health and educational benefits of sport and culture

This report further develops the evidence base around the social and wellbeing value of culture and sport. By better understanding the social impact and value of these sectors, it is hoped that it will help others to make the case at the local level for both the wider benefits of culture and sport and the potential of sports and culture based interventions to achieve wider social outcomes e.g. health and wellbeing improvements.

This analysis is based on participation data taken from the Economic and Social Research Council funded Understanding Society survey. This secondary analysis of that data has been undertaken by the London School of Economics (LSE) and builds on research published previously by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

The study reports the statistically significant positive association between sport and culture participation and self-reported general and mental health when other factors (e.g. age, income) are controlled for. This study builds on the original LSE analysis by presenting an assessment of the value of measured general health benefits in terms of estimated NHS cost savings. This evidence can be used to support cost-benefit assessment studies e.g. at a local level.

Findings from the reported analysis present estimated annual NHS cost savings in England arising from improved general and mental health and resulting reductions in GP and psychotherapy visits. These are estimated at £737.2M from culture and £903.7M from sports.

The study also presents a robust assessment of the association between sport, culture and clinical depression. The study identified that sports participants were significantly less likely to have clinical depression than non-participants when other factors were controlled for. Using the Quality Life Adjusted Year (QALY) approach and participation levels in England the study valued this quality of life benefit of sport to be £1.16Bn.