We're facing a big challenge. We’re becoming an increasingly inactive society. Today’s children may be the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, potentially living five years less.*
Physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of global mortality** . It’s responsible for one in every six deaths in the UK and has become as dangerous as smoking.
Across the UK, half of women and a third of men are damaging their health through physical inactivity, at an estimated annual cost to the economy of £7.4bn**. Some estimates put the cost as high as £15bn.
Physical inactivity causes 16.9% of all premature deaths, including:
- 10.5% of coronary heart disease
- 18.7% of colon cancer
- 17.9% of breast cancer
- 13.0% of type 2 diabetes***
More than 40% of women and 35% of men spend at least six hours a day sitting still. *
Here in Gloucestershire, only one in three of us plays sport or participates in physical activity at least once a week.
Around two-thirds of people in the UK are overweight, almost a quarter are obese. We have the highest rate of child obesity in Europe, and disadvantaged communities are likely to suffer most.
Almost 25% of local reception age children and more than 30% of Year 6 children in Gloucestershire are classified as being of ‘excess weight’.****
NICE estimates the annual cost of obesity to the NHS at £5.1 billion per annum. This translates to £149.1m in Gloucestershire.
The costs of inactivity
The £7.4bn estimated economic cost of physical inactivity is felt most keenly in three areas:
1. Healthcare: Inactive people spend more days in hospital than active people and more time with their GP.
2. Social care for older people: Inactivity leads to poor health, which can affect people’s mobility and independence as they age. They are more likely to need social care at home, and to enter care homes earlier.
3. Productivity: Both employers and the state need a healthy workforce. Poor health can force people to reduce their hours or leave work altogether. Caring responsibilities also affect people’s ability to pursue full-time work. Research shows that those who are physically active are more productive in the workplace.
In Gloucestershire, according to figures from the Clinical Commissioning Group:
- Gloucester: 30% of the 125,000 population is inactive, the city had 83 preventable deaths
- Forest of Dean: 25% of the 83,000 population is inactive, it had 66 preventable deaths
- Stroud: 22% of the 115,000 population is inactive, it had 71 preventable deaths.
Benefits of being physically active
Physical activity is not an end in itself. What matters is the benefit we get from it. This includes:
- reducing the risk of disease
- enhancing educational achievement
- boosting our physical and mental wellbeing
- improving relationships
- greater equality within communities.
Get involved and act now!
* Nike, Designed to Move
**CSPN and BHF, Making the Case for Physical Activity
*** C3 Collaboration for Health, The Benefits of Physical Activity for Health & Wellbeing
**** Understanding Gloucestershire - JSNA 2015