Press release

Government fires starting pistol to tackle physical activity

‘Moving More, Living More’ – The physical activity Olympic and Paralympic legacy for the nation

The Government and Mayor of London have today launched a team effort to promote physical activity across the country - ensuring it is a lasting legacy of London 2012 and part of a long term vision for a fitter nation. ‘Moving More, Living More’ builds on learning from the world’s most active countries, that action on physical activity needs to be a long term effort and is best tackled through a team approach across government and all sectors.

By bringing together individuals and key organisations, like local authorities, businesses and employers, this approach will make sure the drive to tackle physical activity:

  • Has strong leadership – at national, local and community level;
  • Involves partners across all sectors and levels working together;
  • Shines a light on existing good practice, celebrating the work of local champions who drive a huge variety of local activities;
  • Provides opportunities which work for people. This is not just about telling people to do more exercise because it is good for them, it is about giving them the opportunity to be active in ways which fit into their everyday lives and which suits their interests and;
  • Recognises and tackles the barriers that prevent people being active.

On the launch of this new initiative the Prime Minister, David Cameron said:

The country was captured by the spirit of the 2012 Games, inspired by our sporting heroes and their many achievements. We now need to build on this, creating a nation that’s physically active and improving their health for the long term.

We need to provide communities with the encouragement to come together and realise the physical and social benefits of being more active. Government, Local Government, business and community groups must now join together to help make this ambition a reality.

The Government has already put in place a wide range of measures to help people become more active:

  • £450 million over three years for PE and sport in our primary schools to help our children move more and live more;
  • The Department for Transport and Department of Health have given £78 million to fund cycling and walking projects and;
  • Nearly 300 businesses and organisations are signed up to the Department of Health’s Responsibility Deal Physical Activity Network and are taking action to get their staff, customers and local communities more active.

But the Government and Mayor of London want to go further and encourage more initiatives like the one being led by the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), who are working with the Swimathon Foundation to get children swimming.

As part of the Responsibility Deal, the ASA, and its partner the Swimathon Foundation, have today pledged to recruit and provide tools for schools to inspire 10,000 youngsters who have acquired essential swimming skills to ‘Swim their Best’ - swim further and for longer.

Public Health Minister Jane Ellison, said:

Physical activity is an essential ingredient for a healthier nation, and can deliver so many other benefits for individuals and the wider community.

The Olympic and Paralympic legacy has already delivered good results with over 1.5 million more people doing sport once a week than when we won the bid to host the Games. By working together we can achieve more and make sure that getting more people moving is the biggest legacy of London 2012.

The ASA’s Responsibility Deal pledge was launched today – helping to get 10,000 school children swimming. This exemplifies our commitment across government to this approach.

The benefits of physical activity are clear:

  • People who do a lot of exercise reduce their risk of dying early by 30 per cent;
  • Physical activity can lower your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke by between 20 and 35 per cent;
  • People who get their recommended 150 active minutes a week can halve their chances of getting type 2 diabetes;
  • For children higher intensity activities are great for growing healthy bones and muscle and;
  • Greater footfall in our high streets, reduced pollution and congestion, and stronger communities

However a large proportion of the UK population is still inactive:

  • Only 56 per cent of adults meet the Chief Medical Officers’ (CMO) guidelines of 150 minutes of physical activity per week;
  • 28.5 per cent of adults fail to achieve even 30 minutes of physical activity over seven days, and;
  • Only 21 per cent of boys and 16 per cent of girls aged 5 – 15 are achieving 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:

My vision is for a healthier, fitter city and we are encouraging Londoners to be more active in their everyday lives. This might include cycling to work, using the stairs rather than the lift, getting off the bus a few stops early, or getting into social activities like dance.

Our goal is to build on the legacy we are creating from the London 2012 Games, which is already getting hundreds of thousands of Londoners participating in grassroots sport, thanks to initiatives like our Make a Splash mobile pools scheme.

The Prime Minister’s Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Ambassador, Lord Coe said:

The legacy from the 2012 Games is a long-term project to deliver lasting change. But this initiative has the biggest potential impact for our nation’s health.

A joined up approach to challenging inactivity and encouraging physical activity is key. Moving More, Living More” will bring together government, local government, business and above all the individuals and community groups - who know how to get people moving.

The launch of “Moving More, Living More” will take place at Daubeney Primary School in Hackney, which has one of the lowest rates of children who can swim in the country. The school is already helping its pupils get active and is taking part in the type of initiative the Government and Mayor of London want to hear about.

The school has recently taken delivery of a portable swimming pool, funded by the Mayor’s “Make a Splash” scheme and arranged by the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA). This is helping to get more children active and swimming. The pool is even available for use by members of the wider community, after school hours – providing wider benefits and supporting members of the community to get more exercise.

Supporting quotes:

Helen Grant, Minister for Sport said:

Taking part in regular physical activity has so many positive benefits from improved well-being to having a healthier body and that’s why the “Moving More, Living More” campaign is so important.

Getting more people to be more active is an essential focus for us, not only across Government, but for clubs and organisations around the country with whom we work. I want to thank the ASA for their commitment to this important campaign and would urge other organisations to do the same.

Edward Timpson, Minister responsible for school sport, said:

We want all children to develop a healthy lifestyle and a love of sport from a young age, which they’re then more likely to continue throughout their lives.

That’s why this government, through the primary PE and sport premium, is giving more than £150m per year to primary schools to spend on improving sport and PE, and trusting headteachers to spend it on what they think will benefit their pupils most.

This ring-fenced funding shows just how committed this government is to securing a lifetime habit of physical activity for young people: a truly lasting legacy from the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Sir Merrick Cockell, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said:

In order to achieve a lasting legacy of physical activity that reaches every member of the community, the support of local authorities is vital.

Councils have been leading local physical activity, bringing together National Governing Bodies, voluntary sports clubs, schools and others to create opportunities and encourage participation.

With new opportunities afforded by the transition of public health to local government, councils are at the heart of promoting activity and physical well-being.

Jennie Price, Sport England’s Chief Executive, says:

From aqua aerobics to buggy bootcamps to running a marathon, sport can play a pivotal role in building a more active nation. We are committed to opening up sport to all age groups and abilities to ensure the benefits of the Olympic and Paralympic legacy continue.

Mandy Ayres, Director of Access to Sport for Nike, said:

To fight the epidemic of physical inactivity in the UK we need an approach, which transcends politics and sectors.

We have joined forces with other champions for physical activity such as the British Heart Foundation, Lawn Tennis Association, Sustrans and Premier League to support the commission on physical activity and work with Government as part of an overarching collaboration called Designed to Move, to help get children moving more.

What everyone can do today is to make family time, active time. If we all do a little bit more we can make a huge difference.

Notes to editors:

  1. For more information, please contact Cariad Hazard at the Department of Health press office – 0207 210 5281.

  2. The ‘Moving More, Living More’ document can be accessed here

  3. People can get involved and share ideas through an engagement exercise Public Health England will be running aiming to share ideas and good practice for getting people moving. This will be available towards the end of February.

  4. Example of getting people more active: Working with the Swimathon Foundation, the Amateur Swimming Asociation has set up a programme, ‘Schools Swimathon’, to help less active children improve their swimming, build their confidence in the water and ‘swim your best’. The programme is not about trying to make children into elite athletes, but helping them discover the physical and social benefits of joining in activities and importantly, that it is something everyone can enjoy.

  5. Hackney has among the lowest numbers of children in the country able to swim, and Daubeney School has benefited from a novel temporary pool - funded by the GLA, the ASA and British Gas - located directly on their premises in their playground. Not only do the school get to benefit from regular swimming activity, but the pool is also open to the wider community after school.

  6. The Government’s Responsibility Deal challenges all organisations to take action to make a significant contribution to improving public health by helping to create the right environment – across food, alcohol, health at work as well as enabling people to be more active.

  7. The Responsibility Deal embodies the Government’s ambition for a more collaborative approach to tackling the challenges caused by our lifestyle choices. Organisations signing up to the Responsibility Deal commit to taking action voluntarily to improve public health through their responsibilities as employers, as well as through their commercial actions and their community activities. Organisations can sign up to be either national partners or local partners. Further information can be found at https://responsibilitydeal.dh.gov.uk

  8. Information on creating a lasting legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games can be found here

  9. We have already achieved a great deal through the games legacy:

  • 1.5 million more people doing sport once a week than when we won the bid for the 2012 Games back in 2005;
  • Disabled people’s participation in sport is increasing.
  • The future of all eight retained venues on the Olympic Park secured;
  • £11bn economic benefits in trade and investment from the Games;
  • £150m a year for primary school sport for three years, starting in September 2013.
  • Increase in volunteering in 2012/13 (both formal and informal), halting the steady decline since 2005 and;
  • Join In established as independent charity to promote community sport volunteering - over 100,000 new volunteers recruited to local sports clubs in summer 2013.

10.In addition to the ‘Moving More, Living More’ campaign, embedding a long term legacy from the Games continues:

  • The UK has exceeded a four year target to raise £11 billion worth of economic benefit from the London Olympic and Paralympic Games in just over one year.
  • Sport England will open an £18 million National Lottery-funded primary school sports facilities fund (called ‘Primary Spaces’) in 2014 to improve sports facilities in primary schools, to benefit both school children and the wider community.

11.As the Prime Minister announced last week, the school sport premium will continue into the academic year 2015-16, meaning primary schools will be able to put in place longer-term plans to improve their PE and sport provision; and

12.The government will support the London Legacy Development Corporation and Mayor of London in developing Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This includes plans for a new higher education and cultural quarter on the Park, in partnership with University College London and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

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