Over 27 million adults in England are not getting enough exercise. The Chief Medical Officer recommends 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week
to achieve health benefits for adults.
Physical inactivity has been estimated to cost the NHS up to £1.8 billion a year
and the wider economic costs of sickness and early death may be as high as £8.3 billion.
In February 2009, the Government announced the publication of the physical activity plan, ‘Be Active, Be Healthy – A plan for getting the nation moving’
The Government want to get two million more adults active by 2012
, as part of the Government’s Olympic Legacy Action Plan
target which aims to deliver a health legacy for the nation.
'Be Active, Be Healthy' is largely focused on adults, as children and young people’s physical activity is taken forward through a number of other specific government initiatives. It puts physical activity at the heart of the communities and at the centre of local authorities’ efforts to tackle obesity, which is responsible for 9,000 premature deaths a year in England. The Plan sets out new proposals including:
• As part of the cross-government Free Swimming Programme we will launch a new ‘Learn to Swim’
programme for adults with the Amateur Swimming Association and Sport England;
• 2,012 Active Challenge walking routes
across England with Walk England to mark the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games;
• More GPs giving brief advice on getting fit
to their patients – prescribing physical activities just as readily as drugs;
• £4 million for ‘County Sport Partnerships’
to help bring together councils, Primary Care Trusts and other grassroots providers to coordinate and deliver physical activity alongside sport.