£250m strategy aims to get the nation moving

It will emphasise that small increases in activity can improve physical and mental health

People who are physically inactive will be targeted in a national campaign to improve the nation’s physical fitness and mental health.

Sport England's £250 million five-year strategy Towards an Active Nation puts emphasis on physical activity rather than sport alone. The strategy sets out how to change the behaviours of the one in four (28%) of the population who do less than 30 minutes of physical activity in a week.

It follows the recommendations made by the government's health committee in March that physical activity should be seen as a priority, as even small increases in activity levels can dramatically improve health.

The strategy will target groups that have been found to be generally less physically active, including women, disabled people and those from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, and invest more into promoting activity to children and young people from the age of five.

Sport England will be working with Public Health England to develop clear messages on physical activity within the chief medical officer’s guidelines. It will also develop a national sports and physical activity training programme for primary healthcare professionals.

Health professionals will have a key role in implementing the strategy, said Conservative MP and GP Sarah Wollaston, health committee chair.

‘We also highlighted the importance of health professionals promoting physical activity in everyday clinical appointments, so we welcome Sport England’s plans for a national sport and physical activity training programme for primary healthcare professionals,' said Dr Wollaston.

RCN professional lead for public health Helen Donovan said the evidence in the report should be used by nurses to encourage behaviour change and to make every contact count.

‘The evidence is categorical that even small increases in activity and exercise will improve physical and mental health. A lot of people are put off by the idea of getting into a sport, and nurses can use this report to encourage them to think that activity is for everybody,’ she said.

Further information

Sport England's Towards an Active Nation report

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