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  • 21 January 2014 00:00
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All sectors must work together to reverse worrying decline in physical activity says Nike

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Mandy Ayres, the Senior Director of Access to Sport at Nike in Western Europe, says that all organisations and individuals from every sector and walk of life must unite to reverse the worrying decline in physical activity.

Nike, the American-based sports manufacturing giant, spearheaded efforts to create the "Designed to Move” initiative to tackle inactivity and they are now involved in the movement alongside over 70 other organisations. 

The Designed to Move report released last year outlined the need to address inactivity in the UK and across the world and Ayres said a joined-up approach to the issue is vital for its success.

"There are many factors that have caused a decline in physical activity but in short, we have actually engineered movement out of our lives,” Ayres exclusively told Community Sport Network

"As a by-product of technology and modernisation, 'incidental exercise' is gone.

"We are not offsetting this reduction in activity at home or at work with sufficient active leisure time. 

"Research (from the Designed to Move report) indicates that levels of physical activity start falling rapidly at around 10-years-old. 

"It also indicates that young people are spending an average of six hours a day in front of screens, so we need to focus on getting the inactive to become active and to keep them active.

"Is it realistic to expect organisations such as Nike to help reverse this worrying trend? 

"Well as the old saying goes: "If not us, then who? If not now, then when.”

But this is not just any one organisation’s responsibility. 

"To alleviate this epidemic, it demands action from all organisations and all individuals, from every sector and every walk of life: Governments, corporations, communities, parents, schools – everyone has a role to play.” 

The results in the Designed to Move report helped bring about the formation of the All-Party Commission on Physical Activity.

Nike were one of the organisations that publicly supported the creation of the Commission and Ayres outlined the importance of the body in helping to end the physical inactivity epidemic in the UK. 

"The Commission will make direct recommendations on how best to tackle the crisis of physical inactivity in the UK based on evidence from a wide array of expert voices in the sectors of Health, Sport, Transport / Urban Planning and Education,” she explained. 

"For the first time, the three major political parties are taking a cross-sector approach to tackle physical inactivity by launching the Commission.

"The work of the Commission is directed by the Co-Chairs and Commissioners who are all members of the UK Parliament, either in the House of Commons or the House of Lords (the four Co-Chairs are Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Charlotte Leslie, Barbara Keeley and Julian Huppert and the two Commissioners are Gerry Sutcliffe and Greg Mulholland).

"The final report of the Commission (which is due in Spring this year) will make policy recommendations to tackle this crisis.

"It will be signed and directed by the outcomes of the Commission’s evidence gathering and presented by the Co-Chairs and Commissioners.

"We’re asking everyone to get involved by going online and submitting evidence to the Commission by visiting www.activitycommission.com 

"The closing date for submissions is January 24th 2014.”

To read the full Q&A with Mandy Ayres, Click Here

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