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People in Great Yarmouth the least physically active in England, survey finds

PUBLISHED: 19:16 15 April 2018 | UPDATED: 19:16 15 April 2018

The NHS says running, walking or cycling is vital for physical health and recommends two-and-a-half hours of exercise over a seven-day period. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The NHS says running, walking or cycling is vital for physical health and recommends two-and-a-half hours of exercise over a seven-day period. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

People living in Great Yarmouth are the least active in England, with more than a third failing to manage 30 minutes of exercise a week, new figures reveal.

The NHS says running, walking or cycling is vital for physical health and recommends two-and-a-half hours of exercise over a seven-day period. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY The NHS says running, walking or cycling is vital for physical health and recommends two-and-a-half hours of exercise over a seven-day period. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

A national survey by Sport England found that only 48.8pc of people in the borough take part in 150 minutes of moderate activity a week.

The NHS says running, walking or cycling is vital for physical health and recommends two-and-a-half hours of exercise over a seven-day period.

Sport England’s survey found that 61.8pc of the population is meeting this target.

While Yarmouth falls well below the figure, Norfolk as a whole is much closer, with 60.8pc of people undertaking 150 minutes of physical activity a week.

The figures from the Active Lives Survey found:

• Norwich is the most active local authority in Norfolk, with 65.5pc meeting the recommended amount of physical exercise.

• In Great Yarmouth, 36.1pc of people managed less than 30 minutes of exercise per week – higher than the national average of 25.7pc.

• South Norfolk has the lowest percentage of people officially classed as “inactive” in Norfolk, with just 20.7pc of people not managing 30 minutes of exercise.

Nationally, people from higher socio-economic groups were much more likely to exercise regularly than poorer people.

Long-term unemployed people or those who had never worked were the most likely to be inactive, the survey found.

In regard to meeting 150 minutes of exercise each week, local authorities in Norfolk and Waveney were listed as follows:

• Norwich 65.5pc

• Broadland 65.4pc

• North Norfolk 64.9pc

• South Norfolk 63.8pc

• Breckland 60.4pc

• Waveney 59.5pc

• King’s Lynn and West Norfolk 55.2pc

• Fenland 52.1pc

• Great Yarmouth 48.8pc

The figures come from the Active Lives Survey, an annual questionnaire which asks people over the age of 16 in every local authority in England about how much sport and physical activity they do.

It covers the period between November 2016 and November 2017.

The survey found walking was the most popular activity in England with 18.6 million people walking for leisure at least twice a month.

While the number of people cycling and swimming was down, there was a significant increase of 518,000 more people doing interval training sessions.

The most active place in the country was Exeter, where 77.4pc exercised for two-and-a-half hours in an average week.

County sports partnership Active Norfolk, which receives funding from Sports England, said it was working to increase physical activity in the community.

A spokesman said: “The recent ALS figures reflect the demographic and environmental challenges in making physical activity accessible and sustainable for people across rural and urban settings, as well as the wider on-going challenge of normalising sport and physical activity as part of people’s daily routines, which are becoming increasingly busy and also more sedentary both at home and in the workplace.”

The spokesman said was not a focus on promoting physical activity in some parts of Norfolk over others.

But added: “Variations in district-level approaches to the importance of physical activity in the face of other local challenges inevitably impacts the priority that physical activity is given.”

Active Norfolk said it was working to ensure physical activity is an agenda item on local area development strategies.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council said it provides a wide range of sporting facilities for residents, as well as competitions and support for local clubs.

A council spokesman added: “The council is looking at the feasibility of redeveloping its flagship Marina Leisure Centre for the 21st century and has recently completed a major redevelopment of the Phoenix Pool.”

Elizabeth Nockolds, cabinet member for culture, heritage and health at the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, said the council was working with Alive Leisure to provide activities for residents.

She added: “The reasons that people don’t participate in physical activity are complex and include general well-being, lifestyle, income, work hours, rural factors, social deprivation and isolation.”

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