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New funding aims to get nation fitter

14 August 2013 - 4:00pm

The government has today announced more than £5m of new funding to help get England's population fitter.

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A new national survey shows that 28.5 per cent of adults are doing less than 30 minutes of moderate exercise a week

The move comes as a national survey revealed that a third of adults are not achieving the recommended weekly minimum levels of exercise.

The telephone survey for Sport England to assess the impact on English households of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics found 28.5 per cent of adults are doing less than 30 minutes of moderate exercise a week outside of work or home activities.

Just over half (56 per cent) of adults are doing the recommended minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, which includes recreational sport, walking, and cycling.

But only a third of boys and a quarter of girls meet the recommendation for getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

Health minister: 'shocked'

Announcing the funding, public health minister Anna Soubry said: ‘It’s fantastic that more than half of English adults are doing the recommended amount of physical activity, but I am shocked that more than a quarter are not getting even 30 minutes of exercise a week.

‘We want to do everything we can to help people lead longer, healthier lives, which is why for the first time ever, we’ve given local authorities increased and ring-fenced budgets to tackle public health issues in their local area.’

The funding will go towards three current initiatives aimed at increasing physical activity among children and families: £3m for the Change 4 Life Sports Club programme run by primary and secondary schools; £1.1m to Play England’s Street Play initiative to develop safe ways for children to play in the streets, and £1m for walking initiatives run by eight local authorities in England.

The CSP has welcomed the increased investment to encourage more families to take part in exercise.

‘Physical activity can provide a variety of benefits,’ said CSP professional adviser Steve Tolan, ‘ranging from preventing cardiovascular disease to improving social inclusion for individuals from a variety of backgrounds and abilities and helps to reduce the burden on health services by preventing avoidable conditions.’

He added that the funding could present opportunities for members to apply for investment for schemes that fit with the government’s initiatives, such as for a walking group offered alongside a physiotherapy service.

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