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ukactive’s Tanni Grey-Thompson urges MPs to back physical activity

By Jak Phillips    29 May 2015
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has written to all 651 MPs returning to the new Parliament

ukactive chair Tanni Grey-Thompson has called on MPs to help turn the tide of physical inactivity and get more people moving in their constituency.

In her first major act since becoming chair of ukactive last month, Baroness Grey-Thompson has written to all 651 MPs returning to the new Parliament, urging them to join her in pushing physical activity further up the political agenda.

Recently, there has been some political progress in drawing greater focus to the nation’s inactivity crisis, most notably March’s landmark Health Select Committee report in which Dr Sarah Wollaston MP called on medical professionals to harness the “extraordinary benefits of exercise in improving physical and mental health” to prioritise prevention as a public health strategy.

However, health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s recent pledge to tackle the “great scandal” of childhood obesity over the next five years, came under fire from the physical activity sector last week for ‘missing the mark’ in terms of addressing the inactivity crisis.

As part of a cranked up political push, ukactive plans to engage a greater cohort of MPs to back a comprehensive strategy on physical inactivity commensurate to the size of the challenge. It is also encouraging MPs to find out about the inactivity levels in their constituency and how this compares nationally. As part of this, ukactive is proposing to run a roundtable in an MP's constituency to bring together activity providers, local authority, brands and public health specialists to develop a physical activity plan that is localised and effective for constituents.

ukactive is also offering to provide MPs with a weekly parliamentary summary that focuses on physical activity and health matters that have been discussed in the House Of Commons or House Of Lords.

Grey-Thompson will be supporting the creation of a parliamentary commission to explore the actions that can be taken to reduce inactivity and start establishing how legislation could be created to achieve an increase in activity levels across the country.

"We are asking MPs to pledge to do what they can to get Britain moving again. Whether they can give five minutes or five days of their time, there is something for everyone in terms of building a better understanding in Westminster around the issue of physical inactivity,” said Grey-Thompson.

“The last Parliament saw a real growth in the number of MPs who understood the reasons why we had to turn the tide of inactivity – now we are asking them to turn rhetoric into action."

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