Is it wishful thinking that the findings of the Get Britain Cycling report will be taken into account to tackle this urgent issue?

Commission to investigate ‘physical inactivity epidemic’

Written submissions are being requested by the newly formed All-Party Commission on Physical Activity.

The Commission has been tasked with addressing the urgent issue of the ‘physical inactivity epidemic’ and will make policy recommendations in a report to be published in spring 2014.

Five key questions have been identified by the commission:

1. How can we encourage more people to be physically active, on a regular basis?
2. What fundamental policy changes need to be made to increase the levels of physical activity across the UK?
3. What existing best practice is being delivered in or across Sport, Health, Transport and Urban Planning, and Education which addresses the issue of physical inactivity? How and why are these examples successful?
4. What are some examples of excellent initiatives that have failed and why have they been unsuccessful or not lasted?
5. In a world with limited financial resources what are the most cost-effective approaches and how can existing resources be realigned to have the greatest impact?

Anyone from the industry or even a passing interest in cycling will likely have an answer or two to many of those questions…including Sustrans.

Health director for the charity, Philip Insall, said: "We are supporting the new Commission because physical inactivity in children is currently at crisis point and the combined efforts of government, industry and organisations across all sectors is needed to protect our children’s health.

"Sustrans works to make it easier and more attractive for people to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives, such as being able to walk or cycle to school. The average journey to primary school is 1.5 miles – a distance that could easily be done on foot or by bike and goes towards the recommended one hour a day of physical activity.

“Encouraging our children to develop healthy and active lifestyles now means they will be more likely to continue these good habits into adulthood and reduce their risk of health conditions such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers."

The commission said: "The human body was designed to move. But in a very short period of time, we have become dangerously inactive as a population.

"As economies have developed, technology and other modern conveniences have enabled us to move less, making physical activity optional. The cost and consequences of physical inactivity have been underestimated and we believe that the financial implications alone have the potential to bankrupt economies. Evidence shows that children and young people are not experiencing the enormous spectrum of benefits that physical activity and sport can bring. As a direct result, childhood obesity, preventable diabetes and a whole host of other emotional and physical health disorders have never been more prevalent.

"Like never before in history, people’s potential is stifled due to the absence of something so fundamentally human: moving. Something needs to change, and the change needs to happen now."

Further links on the topic here.

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