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  • 19 November 2013 00:00
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Government must agree national sport and fitness strategy to fight obesity says Sir Keith Mills

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Former London 2012 Deputy Chairman Sir Keith Mills says it is vital for the Government to agree on a national sport and fitness strategy in order to tackle the growing obesity problem in the UK.

Sir Keith explained that the rising costs of dealing with the health and social consequences of inactivity are rapidly increasing and that the financial burden on the NHS threatens to get out of hand if the situation is not properly addressed in the near future.

"The area I have been most critical of (post-London 2012) is the lack of a joined up approach to sport at Government level,” Sir Keith exclusively told Community Sport Network.

"Tackling obesity is a major problem right now and the huge costs of dealing with the health and social consequences of inactivity are rapidly increasing to the point where it is completely unsustainable. 

"To tackle this massive problem, we need to adopt a more strategic, joined up approach. 

"This approach needs to be something that is cross-party and something that starts at the top with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. 

"The Cabinet must agree a national sport and fitness strategy that has the buy in and participation of all the relevant Government departments, particularly Education, Health, Communities, the Home Office and Justice Departments, Treasury and obviously the DCMS. 

"By pooling the considerable resources of these departments and focusing on delivering a clear set of strategically aligned plans, we stand a better chance of improving the health and well being of the nation.”

Sir Keith, a multi-millionaire entrepreneur who founded Air Miles and the Nectar points system, also revealed he is delighted with the progress his Sported Foundation is making.

Sported was founded in 2008 with a personal donation of  £10 million from Sir Keith to use sport as a means to engage disadvantaged young people as part his commitment to deliver a tangible legacy from London 2012.

"I have been thrilled with the strong start Sported has made,” Sir Keith told Community Sport Network in the wide-ranging interview. 

"In a difficult economic climate, our financial support and business mentoring programme has helped many community sport groups keep their head above water when other funding streams for them have disappeared. 

"The next stage is to make Sported bigger, better and to really raise the profile of it. 

"We have now got a very strong product with Sported so now is the time to really raise the publicity around it. 

"In doing so, we are also looking to raise the funding coming in so that Sported can become a financially sustainable organisation long-term. 

"We recently confirmed Deutsche Bank as our first corporate partner and we are looking to secure several more corporate and commercial partners moving forwards. 

"So 2014 is really about to raising our profile as the leading foundation providing support to the Sport for Development sector in the UK.”

To read the full interview with Sir Keith Mills Click Here
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