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Suffolk looks for further boost to physical activity to prolong healthy lives

PUBLISHED: 09:13 15 May 2018

Tony Goldson promoting Suffolk's Most Active County aspiration. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Tony Goldson promoting Suffolk's Most Active County aspiration. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

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More than 40% of adults in Suffolk are not doing the amount of physical activity needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle, according to new figures from the county council.

What are the health benefits of an active life? Grapic: PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLANDWhat are the health benefits of an active life? Grapic: PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND

But the picture is improving slowly – with fewer adults being physically inactive and more doing some form of exercise on a regular basis.

New figures on physical activity are due to be discussed by the county’s health and wellbeing board on Thursday – and the same meeting will hear about the importance of people working to maintain their health as we face the prospect of working until later in life.

What is moderate physical activity? Graphic; PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLANDWhat is moderate physical activity? Graphic; PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND

According to a recent survey by Sport England, the number of adults in Suffolk reaching the guidelines for physical activity set down by the Chief Medical Officer for England has increased by 27,100.

The number of inactive adults in the county has fallen by 13,300.

The Daily Mile at Wells Hall Primary School. Picture: GREGG BROWNThe Daily Mile at Wells Hall Primary School. Picture: GREGG BROWN

However, 152,600 Suffolk adults are classed as inactive, and a further 81,000 are not active enough to maintain good health. That is 41% of the county’s 563,000 adult population.

Suffolk is aiming to become “The Most Active County” to try to encourage more people to take up moderate physical activity for at least two-and-a-half hours a week. And as well as targeting adults, it is also hoping to ensure more children are active through the Go Kids initiative, a campaign launched in Suffolk last month which encourages youngsters to eat healthy foods and stay active.

Wells Hall Primary school is among those that has started The Daily Mile. Picture: GREGG BROWNWells Hall Primary school is among those that has started The Daily Mile. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Cabinet member for health Tony Goldson said: “Physical inactivity is a major public health issue. It has significant life-limiting effects on the individuals concerned and is placing a huge burden on the economy and the health and care system as a whole.

“Through the Most Active County partnership, we recognised these issues some time ago and have been working collaboratively with a range of organisations to make a difference to physical activity levels within the county.

“We are pleased to say that, thanks to the efforts of many people, we have seen some positive signs of improvement.

“However, we also recognise the scale of the task in front of us and know that we cannot take our foot off the pedal if lasting and sustained change is to be achieved.

“Looking forward, our ambition is to bring about greater action on inactivity by working with more organisations to ensure physical activity is integrated into as many aspects of life as possible.”

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