Activity:around one in two women and a third of men in England are damaging their health through a lack of physical activity.1 This is unsustainable and costing the UK an estimated £7.4bn a year.2,3 If current trends continue, the increasing costs of health and social care will destabilise public services and take a toll on quality of life for individuals and communities. • over one in four women and one in five men do less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week, so are classified as ‘inactive’1 • physical inactivity is the fourth largest cause of disease and disability in the UK4
A wealth of evidence shows that an active life is essential for physical and mental health and wellbeing. A number of diseases are currently on the increase and affecting people at an earlier age. They include cancer and diabetes, and conditions like obesity, hypertension and depression. Regular physical activity can guard us against these. We want to enable people to take control of their current and future health, and to boost parents’ understanding of how active play and ‘physical literacy’ is essential for children. Being active at every age increases quality of life and everyone’s chances of remaining healthy and independent. The benefits don’t stop there. There are many other social, individual and emotional reasons to promote more physical activity. Being active plays a key role in brain development in early childhood8,9 and is also good for longer-term educational attainment.10 Increased energy levels boost workplace productivity and reduce sickness absence. An active population can even reduce levels of crime and antisocial behaviour.