National plan to get millions moving

The Department of Health has launched a national plan for the delivery of physical activity and sport in the run up to the London Olympic Games and beyond, setting the ambitious target of getting two million more adults fitter by 2012.

Be Active, Be Healthy, published last week, is part of the national Change4Life campaign, launched in January, to encourage people to take more exercise and improve their diets. The CSP is a partner organisation of this initiative and its own Move for Health campaign to promote physical activity ties in with the government’s drive. As one of its key measures, the strategy has set aside £4 million over three years for primary care trusts, local authorities and community organisations to develop county sports partnerships to deliver local opportunities for sports and physical activities. In addition, a new national Physical Activity Alliance is being established, bringing together all organisations committed to increasing participation of physical activity in England, to boost local and regional delivery of initiatives and act as a national partner to the government.  The CSP is in discussions with other partners, such as the Fitness Industry Association, to help contribute to the work of the alliance. Commenting on the strategy, CSP chief executive Phil Gray, said: ‘We all need a boost in becoming fit for life. Finding a form of physical activity that’s both enjoyable and convenient is key to increasing the amount of exercise people undertake in the long term. By improving opportunities and access to exercise locally, many people should improve their fitness and health.’ The strategy also reveals for the first time that inactivity costs each PCT on average £5 million a year – the equivalent of 1,000 hip replacements. In response, the DH is seeking to embed routine physical activity assessments and brief interventions in primary care. It has committed to continuing to develop a national physical activity care pathway model, piloted last year in London GP surgeries, which targets brief advice on physical activity at patients most at risk of ill health from inactive lifestyles. FURTHER INFORMATION Also see the discussion on Move for Health on interactiveCSP, the Society’s member networking website  
Louise Hunt

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