Promoting Physical Activity

Posted by Shaleen Meelu on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 in What's On

Promoting Physical Activity

The Today Programme on Radio 4 this morning interviewed Lord Krebs who said that the Government doesn't have a credible plan for the Olypmic health legacy despite this being highlighted as an objective in the original bid. Last week the Financial Times also commented on the disconnect between Olympics investment, advertising opportunities for McDonalds and Coca Cola, numbers of performance athletes and wider public health impact (I guess most readers will make the links...). Today's news highlighted a series of articles published by the Lancet that emphasise the need for health agencies to promote physical activity because physical inactivity caused 1/10 deaths in 2008. Researchers also noted that: 

  1. 3/10 adults do not reach recommendations for physical activity
  2. 4 out of 5 thirteen to fifteen year olds do not do enough activity
  3. Lack of exercise causes 6% of CHD cases, 7% of type 2 diabetes and 10% of breast and colon cancers 
  4. Inactivity increases with age, is higher in women and more prevalent in high income countries
In relation to point 1, Lord Krebs pointed out that a sample of GPs they surveyed were unable to state what current guidelines for physical activity recommendations are hence the need for the current MECC (Make Every Contact Count) training being rolled out by the UK Department of Health. We're delivering our first 'training the trainer' session to support front line health workers to MECC on Friday. The Lancet report co-author Dr L-Min Lee (based at Harvard Medical School) describes how lack of physical activity has the same affect as smoking - click on the link to hear her describe the importance of physical activity.

'Physical activity benefits every physiological system of the body.' - Dr L-Min Lee
The Lancet Report states 'informational approaches of community-wide and mass media campaigns, and short physical activity messages targeting key community sites are recommended. Behaviour and social approaches are effective, introducing social support for physical activity within communities and worksites, and school-based strategies that encompass physical education, classroom activities, after-school sports and active transport'

Promoting Physical Activity in Schools and the Community

We have been working in the area of public health promotion for a number of years now and implemented community-wide and school based since 2004. In 2005 I worked on the  'Get Fit for Life'  project in the West Midlands (click on the link to see how we did it). This included offering children a range of physical activity options and encouraging them to pursue those they found interesting. 
As discussed in previous blogs, we are currently using Harvard Medical School's 'Six week guide to healthy eating' to pilot a school based programme supporting parents to make positive food and physical activity choices. The images below show Luke discussing physical activity recommendations with mothers, demonstrating abs exercises and discussing healthy alternatives to include in lunch boxes. We hope to train school staff to deliver this programme next academic year. If you are interested in finding out more contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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Hi, my name is Shaleen Meelu and I am the founder of Healthy Futures. I’m also a registered nutritionist and I have helped over 3,000 people embark upon healthy living programmes.


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