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- 13 February 2014 00:00
- in Government
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- Last Modified: 17 February 2014 02:58
The Government and Mayor of London have launched a major cross-sector effort to promote physical activity across the country in a move designed to ensure a lasting legacy from London 2012 by creating a fitter nation.
The initiative, which is titled ‘Moving More, Living More’ and headed in Governmeny by the Department of Health, builds on learning from the world’s most active countries which suggests that action on physical activity needs to be a long term effort and that inactivity is best tackled through a team approach across Government and all sectors.
By bringing together individuals and key organisations, like local authorities, businesses and employers, it is hoped that the unified approach will ensure physical activity is properly promoted through strong leadership and partnership working.
The initiative also looks to shine a light on existing good practices, provide opportunities which work for people and recognise and tackle barriers that prevent people being active.
Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged the full backing of the Government to Moving More, Living More.
"The country was captured by the spirit of the 2012 Games, inspired by our sporting heroes and their many achievements.
"We now need to build on this, creating a nation that’s physically active and improving their health for the long term.
"We need to provide communities with the encouragement to come together and realise the physical and social benefits of being more active.
"Government, Local Government, business and community groups must now join together to help make this ambition a reality.”
The Government has already put in a range of measures to help people become more active.
These include a £450 million PE and school sport investment over three years for primary schools and a £78 million fund for cycling and walking projects.
There are also nearly 300 businesses and organisations signed up to the Department of Health’s Responsibility Deal Physical Activity Network and they are taking action to get their staff, customers and local communities more active.
There measures have now been joined by a brand new initiative that is being led by the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), who are working with the Swimathon Foundation to get children swimming.
As part of the Responsibility Deal, the ASA and the Swimathon Foundation have pledged to recruit and provide tools for schools to inspire 10,000 youngsters who have acquired essential swimming skills to ‘Swim their Best’ - swim further and for longer.
My vision is for a healthier, fitter city and we are encouraging Londoners to be more active in their everyday lives,” said Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
"Our goal is to build on the legacy we are creating from the London 2012 Games, which is already getting hundreds of thousands of Londoners participating in grassroots sport, thanks to initiatives like our Make a Splash mobile pools scheme.”
The benefits of physical activity are clear but a large proportion of the UK population is still inactive.
Only 56% of adults meet the Chief Medical Officers’ (CMO) guidelines of 150 minutes of physical activity per week while 28.5% of adults fail to achieve even 30 minutes of physical activity over seven days.
In addition, only 21% of boys and 16% of girls aged 5-15-years-old are achieving 60 minutes of physical activity a day and the Prime Minister’s Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Ambassador Lord Sebastian Coe says the project is vital increase the nation’s health.
"The legacy from the 2012 Games is a long-term project to deliver lasting change,” said Lord Coe.
"But this initiative has the biggest potential impact for our nation’s health.
"A joined up approach to challenging inactivity and encouraging physical activity is key.
"Moving More, Living More” will bring together Government, local government, business and above all the individuals and community groups - who know how to get people moving.”
Minister for Sport Helen Grant has also given her full backing the initiative.
"Taking part in regular physical activity has so many positive benefits from improved well-being to having a healthier body and that’s why the "Moving More, Living More” campaign is so important.
"Getting more people to be more active is an essential focus for us, not only across Government, but for clubs and organisations around the country with whom we work.
"I want to thank the ASA for their commitment to this important campaign and would urge other organisations to do the same.”