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People need to be more informed on the risk of conditions like diabetes


“PEOPLE GET THE MESSAGE ABOUT DIET, BUT THE DANGERS OF INACTIVITY ARE NOT WIDELY UNDERSTOOD, ESPECIALLY THE PROTECTIVE BENEFITS”


Firstly, the institute has published a


new pathway aimed at policy makers, commissioners, practitioners and other professionals, setting out how communities can help prevent overweight and obesity. These include schemes to prevent harmful drinking, nutrition advice and the appointment of local ‘obesity champions’.


LIFESTYLE CHANGES While targeted campaigns aimed at reducing salt in packaged foods, as well as the traffi c light food labelling system, may be achieving traction, Kelly says much more needs to be done on a systematic basis to fully integrate changes into people’s lifestyles: “People get the message about diet, although they still fi nd it diffi cult to follow a good diet, but the dangers of inactivity are not widely understood, especially the protective benefi ts.” To get people moving, there’s a new set of guidelines on walking and cycling, in which NICE is advising people to make shorter journeys by foot or bicycle rather than by car. Whether it’s walking to school,


February 2013 © Cybertrek 2013


work or the corner shop, the message is that these small journeys can really have a positive and accumulative effect on health. To encourage these changes,


however, Kelly says it will be up to the local authorities to modify the built environment to make it more amenable to daily physical activity: “Many things that make walking and cycling easier are within their grasp because they control traffi c fl ow, planning regulations and so on.” Kelly insists he is not talking about expensive infrastructure changes, but simple things to remove barriers – for example, employers offering showers at work for employees who cycle, secure parking spaces for bicycles, and for walkers, safer pavements and well-lit streets. He admits the UK is some way off


the level of the Netherlands with its enthusiastic cycling habits, but upholds as good examples cities like York and Oxford which are especially cycle-friendly, and central London’s rent-a-bike scheme. While some solutions may seem relatively easy, Kelly also points out


that things will only work if all parties are on board. “We all have to own this problem and not assume that obesity is someone else’s problem – it’s not just for doctors to sort out. “It requires concerted efforts


involving the medical profession, government, the food industry, the exercise industry, planners of transport systems, as well as all of us taking responsibility for our own health too.”


JOINING FORCES The increasing dialogue between the medical and fi tness industries is one that Kelly welcomes, and it’s a rapprochement that he sees as vital to the future. “There are a number of medical and


fi tness leaders around the country who are working tirelessly to make this happen, and I’m optimistic that we’re moving in the right direction. It’s very likely that, in the next fi ve to 10 years, we’ll see more of this work incorporated into the medical curriculum and the training of GPs.”


Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital 47


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