Closed consultation

Developing a national physical activity approach

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PHE is working with local and national partners to develop a practical approach to increase levels of physical activity in local communities.

This consultation ran from

Consultation description

During 2014 Public Health England (PHE) wants to learn from the experience and knowledge within national and local organisations and individuals to create an approach built on ‘what works’ in real communities. This aligns with the government’s ‘Moving More, Living More’ commitment to get the country more active. The National Physical Activity Framework will be published in late 2014.

‘Levels of physical activity’ are as defined by the UK Chief Medical Officers’ consensus statement.

The challenge

More than 4 in 10 people do not do enough physical activity to achieve good health. This is not just a personal issue, as it has significant negative impacts on the life of the individual and their communities. These can be:

  • health costs: for example, physical activity helps prevent and manage over 20 health conditions and inadequate physical activity contributes to 1 in 10 early deaths (equal to smoking)
  • social costs: for example, communities with higher levels of physical activity have greater community cohesion and inclusion, but the number of walked trips (including journeys to school) are on the decline
  • economic costs: for example, a physically active individual on average earns £6,500 more each year, and the cost of physical inactivity in England has been estimated at £8.2 billion a year

Working together to find a solution

Low levels of physical activity are a shared problem that is growing across high income countries. Evidence shows the need for changing the way local communities work through contributions from all sections of society, as well as empowering and supporting individuals and grass roots initiatives.

Shaping the foundations of our approach

The first stage is to understand the challenges and opportunities at national and local levels. PHE would like to hear about your experiences and opinions which will inform the development of our framework. We are therefore welcoming suggestions on the following areas that could be changed to support physical activity in local communities:

  1. Social norms: for example, change ‘No ball games’ signs with ‘Please play here’
  2. Technology: for example, publically useable electronic bike locks in public places
  3. Economic: for example, funding for park keepers and play coordinators in each park
  4. Environmental: for example, raising roads at all street junctions to calm traffic and prioritise pedestrians
  5. Political: for example, pedestrians prioritised in all local planning decisions
  6. Legal: for example, increased awareness and use of laws such as the Street Playgrounds Act 1938
  7. Ethical: for example, all local areas to offer free activities to individuals on low income

How to have your say

As a physical activity professional, volunteer or individual with knowledge of the topic, we welcome your suggestions on any of the above 7 areas. Your contributions will also be considered as response to ‘Moving More, Living More’, the government’s contribution to a national campaign for a more active nation. We will also include the findings and recommendations from the All Party Commission on Physical Activity.

Email your responses to

The deadline for responses to this stage is Friday 25 April 2014.

Your input is valued and will be used to develop the framework. Due to the high volume of emails that may be received we will not be able to provide individual feedback.

Building momentum

This is the first stage of the development process and we will be running topic and community events to get more detail from specific groups and ensure a good spread of voices are heard. We will put information on the PHE website during 2014 about more opportunities to contribute and get involved in further stages.

Published 26 March 2014