NICE calls on councils to help people get active by improving paths and pavements

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is calling for councils to improve pavements and paths to encourage and support physical activity..

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Exercise can help prevent cancers, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Credit: Sport England

In guidance published today, it recommends that councils ensure footpaths and cycle routes are convenient, safe and attractive to use.

Widening footpaths, repairing potholes and clearing pavement parking would mean improved routes for cyclists, pedestrians and other users, NICE says.

It recommends that councils should restrict vehicle access, making more areas pedestrianised.

The guidance calls for additional support for people with limited mobility. This includes step-free access on public transport, such as buses or trains, to ensure that it is accessible for everyone.

The CSP’s public health lead Priya Dasoju welcomed the recommendations, saying: ‘These measures really would help everyone to be more active.

‘Physical activity helps to prevent serious health conditions, including cancers, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity. So the recommendations would deliver significant benefits, not just to individuals but to our NHS too.’

NICE said the recommendations should be read alongside its guideline on physical activity: walking and cycling.

However, it recognises that councils will need to take into account any extra costs and savings involved in implementing these recommendations.

The speed at which they are adopted by local services will depend on the availability of resources and the other priorities they are dealing with.

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