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NICE's recently published guidance concludes that Britons are too sedentary


WE’RE FACING AN EPIDEMIC OF NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASES RELATED TO THE WAY WE LIVE OUR LIVES – THE DIETS WE CONSUME, THE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY WE DON’T DO


responsibilities represent the biggest change in public health since the 1970s and I believe there’s a really big appetite to do it well. Effectively, prevention of heart disease and diabetes have become the responsibility of the LAs.” In order to help the LAs, Kelly says NICE will be pub- lishing a series of public health briefings to assist in identifying things that can be done relatively quickly to improve the public health agenda. Firstly, the institute has published a


new pathway aimed at policy makers, commissioners, practitioners and other professionals, which sets out how com- munities can help prevent obesity. These include schemes to prevent harmful drinking, nutrition advice and the ap- pointment of local ‘obesity champions’. While targeted campaigns aimed at


reducing salt in packaged foods and the traffic light food labelling system may be achieving traction, Kelly says much more needs to be done on a sys- tematic basis to fully integrate effective changes into people’s lifestyles.


Issue 1 2013 © cybertrek 2013


Kelly says: “People get the message


about diet, although they find it difficult to follow a good diet, but the dangers of inactivity are not widely understood.” To get people moving, there is a


new set of guidelines on walking and cycling, where NICE is advising people to make shorter journeys by foot or bicycle rather than by car. Whether it’s walking to school or work or to 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 local authorities to modify the built environment to make it more amenable to daily physical activ- ity. “Many things that make walking and cycling easier are within their grasp be- cause they control traffic flow, planning regulations et cetera,” he says. Kelly insists he’s 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 pe- destrians, safer pavements and better-lit streets. He admits the UK is some way behind the Netherlands with its enthu- siastic cycling habits, but offers 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 rela-


tively easy, Kelly also points out that things will only work if all parties are on board. “We’ve all got 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, gov- ernment, the food industry, the sport and exercise industry, planners of trans- port systems, as well as all of us taking responsibility for our own health.”


JOINING FORCES The increasing dialogue between ex- perts in the medical and sport and fitness industries is something that


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