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Obesity strategy an opportunity for the sport and leisure sector, says PHE

By Matthew Campelli    20 Sep 2016
An inactive childhood means you are twice as likely to be an obese adult

Operators in the sport and leisure sector have an opportunity to develop their offer as a result of the government’s childhood obesity strategy, according to Public Health England (PHE).

Talking at Leisure Industry Week, PHE deputy national leader for adult health and wellbeing Dr Mike Brannan said that the sector would be critical in helping to fulfil the guidelines for children’s physical activity outside of school time, but could also be drafted in to help educational institutions.

The strategy – launched in late-September – made clear that schools were expected to get students involved in at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day, although the stipulation was “voluntary”.

Brannan told delegates from the sport and leisure sector that their expertise could be used in a school environment where teachers and education professionals did not have their skills and expertise in cultivating physical activity programmes.

He added that early years centres would be of most need of support as the Chief Medical Office guidelines recommend three hours of physical activity per day for under-fives.

While the obesity strategy focuses on childhood conditions, Brannan revealed statistic which made for concerning reading for the adult population. According to PHE statistics, the UK takes part in less physical activity than comparable western nations such as the US, France and the Netherlands.

Moreover, only 34 per cent of men and 24 per cent of women are undertaking the appropriate level of muscle and bone strengthening activities.

Brannan said that to complement outcomes in the government’s sport strategy and Sport England’s Towards an Active Nation blueprint, sport and leisure operators should focus on the inactive by working with local stakeholders, such as councils, and developing insight based programmes which are targeted to relevant groups.

LIW  Public Health England  obesity 
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