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UKACTIVE UPDATE VANGUARD


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Public Affairs Media Partner management


TURNING THE TIDE OF INACTIVITY


David Stalker, ukactive CEO, discusses the findings of its groundbreaking report into physical inactivity in the UK


L


ast month, ukactive launched its new report – Turning the tide of inactivity – which I hope will influence the


direction of policy, and the sector as a whole, for years to come. It established for the first time the scale and impact of physical inactivity in the UK, on a borough by borough basis, and set out recommended actions to be taken at a national, local and sector level.


Why focus on inactivity? Inactive people are more likely to develop chronic conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Tey spend 38 per cent more days in hospital than active people and visit the doctor almost six per cent more oſten. Tis is costing the UK economy £8.2bn a year – an average of £18m per 100,000 people in each local authority in England every year. Despite this, our report showed that


12.5 million adults in England are classed as physically inactive: one in four adults failed to achieve just 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week within a 28-day period in the last year. In the most deprived areas in the UK, this increased to one in three. We also found a relationship between


high levels of inactivity and high numbers of premature deaths in local authorities. In the most inactive local authorities, the average number of adult premature deaths was 342 per 100,000 people a year. In the best performing authorities, it was 242.


Towards a national strategy Te challenge we face is that the debate on inactivity has focused primarily on its contribution to reducing obesity, but this direction has started to change. Te report set out new evidence that has helped provoke a change in emphasis, a change of direction and, above all, a move towards a new approach. Inactivity needs to be seen as a


standalone public health risk, separate


A large-scale shiſt needs to happen so walking and cycling as modes of transport become society’s norm


from obesity and weight management. As such, public health teams should be looking to prioritise and resource physical inactivity programmes to the same level as other top tier public health risks. We’ve called for the government to


develop and deliver a cross-party, cross- government and cross-sector national inactivity strategy; if local authorities in England reduced their inactivity levels by just 1 per cent a year over five years, they would make a £1.2bn saving. Tis is a realistic ambition that would


make a tangible improvement to the financial and physical health of the nation. Our report features many cases of best practice. Now is the time to ensure these are evidence-based and scalable.


Getting inactive people active As a sector, we can have a huge impact on the health and wellbeing of communities by helping inactive people get active. Over a million people already walk through our doors every day, but our impact on the nation’s health – and therefore our


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


importance as a key delivery partner for public health teams – would be so much greater if we developed evidence-based programmes designed to support inactive people in getting moving. We need an industrial scale shiſt across


society that ensures walking and cycling are the preferred modes of transport; that supports children to become physically literate from the earliest possible age; and that embeds physical activity as the norm in everyday lives. Our sector has the potential to be at the


heart of this shiſt, and I hope the report provides the basis on which we can take the critically needed action at every level to turn the tide of inactivity for good.


FOR MORE INFORMATION


Visit www.ukactive.com/turningthetide for further details on the scale and implications of physical inactivity in the UK.


March 2014 © Cybertrek 2014


PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM /FRANCES L FRUIT


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