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UK must get more active

14th August 2009

Health secretary Andy Burnham has called for a sea change in the approach people in Britain have to physical activity.

swimming

His call comes as evidence shows that people in the UK are among the least active in Europe.

In a new initiative to help more people get active, partnerships have been set up with the private and public sector.

And TV stars – such as former Strictly Come Dancing including Arlene Phillips - have been recruited to help as well with programmes that include dancing and swimming.

Latest exercise rankings put Britain 21st out of 32 European countries, lagging behind countries such as Bulgaria and Latvia.

Mr Burnham said: "We are a sport-loving nation but we are simply nowhere near as active as we should be.

"Just as five years ago, we set ourselves the target of coming fourth in the 2012 Olympic medal table, now I want us to aspire to fourth place in the physical activity league over the next 10 years."

A recent survey by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy showed that two thirds of people were failing to achieve the recommended amount of exercise in this country of an hour a day for children and 30 minutes at least five times a week for adults.

This is despite regular exercise meaning people are half as likely to be at risk of major chronic disease such as coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.

The government has set aside £1m to help councils provide free swimming under the Swim4Life banner.

 

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