Spending to fight physical inactivity nationwide doubles in a year

Public health spending on England's 'inactivity epidemic' will double next year, says a report by not-for-profit health body, ukactive. Steps to solving inactivity also presents the findings of the largest review of physical activity programmes to date and says more needs to be done to capture and evaluate physical activity programme data.

ukactive's first local authority report Turning the tide of inactivity covered 2013-14 and defined physical inactivity as a major national public health issue linked to one in six premature deaths. Steps to solving inactivity conducted the same research for 2014-15. The report found that councils have responded positively to the challenge by allocating 4 per cent of their public health grant to tackling inactivity in 2014/15 compared to just 2per cent in 2013/14. New data also reveals that more than 70 per cent of councils have raised their allocated budget on physical activity.

According to the report that 29 per cent of people in England are physically inactive, meaning that they do less than 30mins of moderate physical activity per week, even though this can be done in three 10 minute bites. Steps to solving inactivity calls for more robust evaluation of physical activity programmes so the most effective can be commissioned and replicated at scale with demonstrable impact - a critical step in the fight to solve inactivity.

The report recommends:

  • Health and Wellbeing Boards have a designated physical activity champion who will specifically work to ensure its appropriate integration and provision based on local needs.
  • Cementing physical activity planning  into areas such as public health, social care, education, environmental planning and transport policies.
  • Implementing a more data-oriented approach to measuring programme outcomes and benchmarking progress across the physical activity sector.

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