Focusing on least active people pays dividends

Focusing on least active people pays dividends

Trend for more active lives is upward, but significant differences remain across the county

by Jinny Christiansen

Gloucestershire is seeing improvements in the number of people living more active lives, but there are still concerns about disparities across the county, between those who are active and those who remain inactive.

The Cotswolds now shows the highest levels of inactivity at 25.9% of the population. Gloucester follows close behind with 25.3%, although there are indications that targeted funding for programmes such as Active for Life have an impact. The number of inactive people in the city has dropped by 6% in the last 12 months and those who are fairly active has increased by more than 5% to 15.6%, beating the national average of 12.5%.

Every six months Sport England publishes the results of a sample poll across the counties of 200,000 people aged 16+, to assess activity levels, according to three criteria:

  1. Active: people who do more than 150 minutes of activity every week
  2. Fairly active: people who do more than 30 but less than 150 minutes every week
  3. Inactive: people who do less than 30 minutes each week

For the first time, Sport England has been able to compare like for like results between November 2016 and November 2017.

Sports England Active Lives Survey 16-17

National trends show that although the gap in activity levels between higher and lower socio-economic groups has stabilised, people on lower incomes and disabled people are still much less likely to be active enough to benefit their health.

The survey provides figures for each district. For example in Stroud almost 70% of residents are active, while the figure for Gloucester and the Forest of Dean is less than 60%. The Forest of Dean and Tewkesbury also have relatively high levels of inactivity, both above 20% of the population.

Niall Judge, Active Gloucestershire’s research expert, says that the survey provides a useful snapshot, but further analysis is needed to fully identify trends and to establish priorities at county level.

Deborah Potts, CEO of Active Gloucestershire, says that the report suggests that the charity’s continued efforts to reach those least active are paying off. “We are deliberately channelling our efforts towards people with disabilities, older people, BME communities and children & young people, and we are working hard to understand how to have a lasting impact on lifestyles so that being active becomes the norm for everyone.”

Later this month the countywide Gloucestershire Moves network of health and physical activity champions, will launch an innovative 2018-19 programme of pilot schemes that will challenge status quo and enable more significant and lasting lifestyle changes.

Gloucestershire Moves was established in 2017 to create a joined up approach to raising physical activity levels. Members include Active Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire County Council’s Public Health Team, the county’s Clinical Commissioning Group, city and district council representatives, Age UK Gloucestershire, the University of Gloucestershire, the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and the Barnwood Trust.

Find out more about Gloucestershire Moves.

Access the full report on Active Lives across Gloucestershire.

  • Active Lives is a national survey but provides local data which can be used to develop local projects and policies. To find out more about Active Lives and see the results in full, go to Sport England.
  • Sport England is a public body and invests up to £300 million National Lottery and government money each year in projects and programmes that help people get active and play sport.
  • People who have a physically active lifestyle have a 20-35% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and stroke compared to those who have sedentary lifestyles.
  • Regular physical activity is also associated with a reduced risk of diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and colon/breast cancer and with improved mental health. In older adults physical activity is associated with increased functional capacities.
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