horsham wellbeingHorsham Wellbeing

Horsham Wellbeing is your local wellbeing service in the Horsham District

The Wellbeing service can help you to find local wellbeing information and services. From its website to the teams in your local area, you can get advice and support on how to make small changes to improve your health and wellbeing, including how to stop smoking, how to become more active or how to make your meals healthier.

Horsham District Wellbeing is a friendly and impartial service which comes from your local authority and other partners, the majority of our services are completely free to users. As well as using its website, you can find out more about local activities and support services by talking to its friendly Wellbeing Advisors over the phone or in person.

one you'One You'

for improving your health...

Public Health England has recently launched a ground-breaking new campaign, ‘One You’, to help adults across the country avoid future diseases caused by modern lifestyles. Everyday habits and behaviours - such as eating too much unhealthy food, drinking more alcohol than is recommended, continuing to smoke and not being active enough - are responsible for around 40% of all deaths in England and cost the NHS more than £11 billion a year.

One You encourages people to reappraise their lifestyle choices, put themselves first and do something about their own health. It reminds people that it’s never too late to improve their health - making small lifestyle changes such as eating well, drinking less alcohol, quitting smoking or being more active can double your chances of being healthy at 70 and beyond.

The campaign encourages adults to take part in a free online health quiz, called ‘How Are You’, to identify where they can make small changes. The quiz provides personalised recommendations and directs people to tools and advice created by experts to help them take action where it’s most needed.

Take the ‘How Are You’ online quiz now.

Read some Top Tips for being healthy

Articles of Interest

November 2018 - Football Boosting Young Girls' Mental Wellbeing and Confidence

Girls’ mental health in schools is being helped through football, new research from children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust and The Football Association (FA) has found.

Game of Our Own is focused on introducing more girls to football by teaching leadership skills, which can then be applied in girls’ own schools to engage their peers. It also supports schools and teachers to have a better understanding of barriers to participation and how to engage girls.

Forty percent of the girls who took part in a post programme survey said that their mental wellbeing had been improved by taking part. It also revealed that 90% of girls who had helped to lead and deliver the programme said their confidence had been improved generally – with more girls feeling that their confidence to play football had been boosted.

The research revealed that to engage more girls to play football in schools and further develop their mental and physical wellbeing through the game, there should be:
- Greater focus upon team building and socialising than competition, leading to wider participation in the sport.
- Opportunities provided to play away from boys, by not allowing them to watch or be nearby to pitches, as some girls reported that judgment from boys had discouraged them in the past.
- Consideration given to a ‘passport’ system making participants aware of the life skills they are gaining allowing them to record this information in their own ‘passports’.

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November 2018 - Food and Activity Triangles

New nutrition and physical activity guides have been published by the Flemish Institute for Healthy Living. Designed to make people aware of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle and to motivate them to make healthy choices, the models are based on a comprehensive analysis of the effectiveness of existing models, people’s behaviour, as well as nutrition, physical activity and communication science.

The models are action-oriented, encouraging gradual progress towards healthier lives. They are accompanied by materials and tools which encourage healthy eating and regular physical activity and warn against long periods of sedentary behaviour. While the nutrition and activity triangles are for the entire population from aged one and up, many of the flanking tools target specific groups such as children, the elderly or disadvantaged groups.

The activity triangle stresses the importance of regular movement along with more strenuous daily and weekly activity.

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November 2018 - Prevention is Better than Cure

This document sets out the Department for Health and Social Care’s vision for putting prevention at the heart of the nation's health. It aims to improve healthy life expectancy so that, by 2035, we are enjoying at least five extra years of healthy, independent life, whilst closing the gap between the richest and poorest.

Prevention is about helping people stay healthy, happy and independent for as long as possible. This means reducing the chances of problems from arising in the first place and, when they do, supporting people to manage them as effectively as possible. Prevention is as important at seventy years old as it is at age seven.

It is presented in three chapters:
Chapter one sets out why prevention matters, and the case for change.
Chapter two describes the Government's vision for preventing problems from arising in the first place.
Chapter three sets out the prevention vision for those already living with a health or social care need, and how they can live well for longer.

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November 2018 - Britain’s Unhealthiest High Streets Revealed

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has published a league table ranking 70 of Britain’s major towns and cities by the impact of their high streets on the public’s health and wellbeing.

The rankings, based on the prevalence of different types of businesses found in the towns’ main retail areas, see Grimsby rated as having the unhealthiest high street, with Edinburgh coming out as the healthiest. This ranking excludes London high streets, which have been ranked separately.

The league table features in the new RSPH report, Health on the High Street: Running on empty, which follows on from the announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer of a package of measures designed to reinvigorate the nation’s High Streets. This is a follow up report to the original RSPH Health on the High Street published in 2015 and assesses changes in British retail areas over the past three years.

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November 2018 - ukactive Brings Together Disability Champions to Improve Physical Activity Services Through 'Everyone Can'

ukactive has launched a series of focus groups with disability champions across the retail, transport, music and hospitality sectors, exploring how to improve services for disabled people who want to undertake more physical activity.

The findings from the groups will feed into a new report as part of the recently launched Everyone Can programme led by ukactive, Sport England, and other leading disability organisations.

Among several focus groups will be a session with disability groups Activity Alliance, Alzheimer’s Society, Sport for Confidence, Aspire, Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Mind and UK Deaf Sport, helping to establish a clearer picture of the physical activity environment for disabled people today.

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October 2018 - Partnership to Help Dads and Daughters Get Active Together

Women in Sport in partnership with the Fatherhood Institute, Fulham Football club and the EFL Trust has been awarded £118,301 of National Lottery funding from Sport England to help low income families in London get active with their children over the next year. The programme will replicate a programme which was designed by the University of Newcastle, Australia. It will specifically target dads and daughters in the UK.

Parents often see their role as helpers rather than role models in encouraging their children to be active. Research by the University of Newcastle (Australia) found that fathers are less involved with their daughters than mothers, tend to spend less time with daughters than sons and don’t acknowledge their role in fostering their daughters’ physical activity behaviours.

Fulham Football club will deliver weekly 90-minute group sessions combining practical and educational activities. The programme teaches girls sports skills through fun games and physical activities and educates fathers about positive lifestyle role-modelling and parenting strategies.

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October 2018 - New Support Launched for Disabled Adults to Improve Health

Two new resources have been launched to help improve the health of adults with a disability.

The first is a Public Health England evidence review which highlights a need for disabled adults to do more physical activity to improve their health. The second is a new UK Chief Medical Officer (CMO) infographic to make physical activity recommendations more accessible and to support disabled people in getting more active.

While national physical activity guidelines are currently produced for the whole population, the new evidence shows there is no risk for people with a disability undertaking physical activity.

It is recommended that people with a disability build up physical activity, concentrating first on frequency, then duration, before finally raising the intensity level. This is especially significant for those that are not active at all and those with other existing health conditions.

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October 2018 - Reducing Sitting Time Boosts Office Staff’s Work Engagement and Wellbeing

Office workers are being urged to ‘stand up for their health’ – with Loughborough and Leicester researchers claiming desk-bound staff need to be more active at work.

It is widely known that sitting down for long periods of time, even for those who do some exercise regularly, can lead to poor health. Teams from the University of Leicester and Loughborough University wanted to investigate simple solutions to reducing sitting time in the office.

The research, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), found that giving height-adjustable workstations to staff, alongside a brief education seminar, posters and providing feedback on sitting behaviour (i.e., the SMArT Work programme), reduced sitting time and increased standing whilst at work, which resulted in lots of work and wellbeing benefits.

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October 2018 - Children Who Spend More than Half an Hour Online Twice as Likely to Pester for Junk Food

Young children who spent more than half an hour a day online were almost twice as likely to pester their parents for junk food, according to a Cancer Research UK report. And primary school children who spent more than three hours on the web were more than four times more likely to spend their pocket money on chocolate, crisps, sugary drinks and takeaways than their peers who browsed for less than half an hour.

These children were also 79% more likely to be overweight or obese while those who were online between 30 minutes and three hours a day were 53% more likely to be carrying excess weight than those who were online for less. Obese children are five times more likely to remain obese into adulthood and being overweight or obese as an adult increases the risk of 13 different types of cancer.

Researchers found that, on average, children were online for 16 hours a week – not including time spent for homework – and watched 22 hours of television per week. The amount of exercise done by the children had no impact on the results, showing that for this research, excess weight wasn’t linked with being sedentary.

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October 2018 - Child Health in England Falling Behind Other European Countries

A new report, published by The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), warns that child health in England is lagging behind other European countries, with child mortality potentially 140% higher than other comparable nations by 2030 and reported mental health problems set to increase by 60%.

Amongst the report’s key findings are:

  • Mortality rates may be 140% higher for infants in England than in comparable wealthy nations by 2030
  • Reported mental health problems are set to increase by 60%, based on current trends
  • 1 in 3 of the most deprived boys in England will be obese by 2030 without urgent implementation of the Childhood Obesity Plan and additional measures
  • A&E attendances for children may increase by 50% and outpatient attendances by 48%.

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October 2018 - New Physical Activity Resource for Health Professionals

A new digital Moving Medicine tool is designed to help healthcare professionals advise patients on how physical activity can help to manage their conditions, prevent disease and aid recovery.

It is produced by the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine in partnership with Public Health England and Sport England with support from National Lottery funding.

Evidence shows that one in four patients would be more active if advised by a GP or nurse, yet nearly three quarters of GPs do not speak about the benefits of physical activity to patients due to either lack of knowledge, skills or confidence. The tool focuses on helping to address the most common long term health conditions affecting the population, such as cancer, depression, musculoskeletal pain and type 2 diabetes.

Developed in consultation with over 300 healthcare professionals and patients and using evidence-based step-by-step guidance, Moving Medicine is designed to provide healthcare professionals with the latest evidence to address this knowledge and skills gap in the NHS and support healthier outcomes for patients as a result.

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October 2018 - New WHO Progress Report Reveals That Levels of Physical Activity are Stalling

Three years after European Member States committed to implementing the Physical activity strategy for the WHO European Region 2016–2025, an assessment of progress reveals that levels of physical activity are stalling.

One of the nine global targets outlined in the report is a 10% relative reduction in the prevalence of insufficient physical activity by 2025. However, the report describes a worrying reality in which levels of physical activity are stagnant.

To increase physical activity in the region, the report prioritises five areas for improvement:
1) focusing on children and adolescents
2) promoting physical activity in the workplace and through the health-care system
3) providing leadership and coordination for the promotion of physical activity
4) engaging the older population
5) supporting action through surveillance, evaluation and research.

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September 2018 - Opening Access to the Countryside

The country’s first ever specialist centre to open up access to the countryside for wheelchair users and those with mobility needs as well as disabled and able-bodied horse riders, cyclists and walkers was launched today at Oxfordshire’s Aston Rowant National Nature Reserve.

The new National Land Access Centre, located in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has been designed to demonstrate the use, maintenance and installation of gaps, gates and stiles meeting the new British Standard for improved countryside access.

Natural England research shows there are around 519 million visits to paths, cycleways and bridleways in England each year. However, mobility issues can be a major barrier to people heading to the countryside. Over 20% of England’s population cannot use public rights of way, either because they cannot use stiles or kissing gates themselves, or they are accompanying someone who can’t.

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September 2018 - Generation Inactive 2 – Nothing About Us, Without Us

More than £346m in wasted childcare funding should be used to get children more active and fight the growing epidemic of health issues among the young, says a new report from ukactive.

The report, called Generation Inactive 2 – Nothing About Us, Without Us, includes a recommendation that the Government should redirect the Treasury underspend allocated to tax-free childcare to physical activity programmes in disadvantaged areas. The proposal would help support parents to keep children physically active and well-fed outside of school hours, with figures showing that over the summer holidays children lose up to 80% of the fitness gained during term time.

Other recommendations from ukactive include:

- Developing schools into community hubs, integrating health, education and social care provision within school facilities.
- All major political parties UK-wide committing to a 20-year public health campaign which will move Generation Inactive to Generation Active by 2038.
- Ofsted should create an Inspection Framework that places pupil's physical health and development, mental health and development and wellbeing at the heart of each section of its evaluation schedule.
- In line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 12, government should hold departments accountable for actively involving the views and opinions of children and young people in strategic health decision and policy-making.

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September 2018 - Puberty and Sport: An Invisible Stage

This report from Women in Sport looks at puberty and its impact on girls' participation in sport.

Key findings
Sport is an ‘invisible stage’ where girls feel everyone is noticing them.
Sporting activities previously enjoyed, may now seem childish and not in keeping with their emerging adult identity.
New responsibilities and interests fill their time and they become more independent of parents.
The perception of ‘having to be good’ at sport in order to participate increases, whilst playing sport for fun appears less acceptable.
There is an upsurge of competition and animosity between girls.
The sports environment is a breeding-ground for gossip.
Looking good becomes increasingly important. Becoming ‘overly sporty’ can lead to negative stereotyping.

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September 2018 - Reimagining Ageing

Older people are having ‘their lives cut tragically short’ through a physical inactivity epidemic which threatens to bring a major social care crisis, according to a report from ukactive.

Analysis from ukactive, DataHub and Sheffield Hallam University shows a potential saving of £7.6bn to the NHS and healthcare system if older people are supported to become more physically active through a series of systemic changes. It highlights the critical pressures facing the NHS and social services due to a population which is growing older.

With figures showing that physical inactivity reduces lifespan by as much as five years, the report calls for a complete re-evaluation of the way older people live, exploring how to embed physical activity into every aspect of later life.

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September 2018 - People are Spending More Time Outside in the Natural Environment Than Ever Before

New national statistics published by Natural England show that more people than ever before are visiting and spending time in the natural environment. The proportion of adults visiting nature at least once a week has increased from 54% in 2010 to 62% in 2018.

Natural England’s Monitoring of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) report also found that this trend could be seen across population groups, including groups where levels of participation have historically been lower.

This year’s report also found:

- People living in England’s most deprived areas visiting the natural environment at least once a week has increased from 38% in 2009/10 to 51% in 2017/18.

- In 2017/18 health and exercise was the main motivation for spending time in the natural environment (reported for over half of all visits).

- Choosing to walk instead of taking the car is on the up, reported by 48% of people in 2017/18 compared with 40% in 2009/10.

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September 2018 - Playing Out - The Importance to Children of Play and Physical Activity

This report from the Children’s Commissioner for England looks at the importance to children of play and physical activity. The benefits are undeniable, yet the proportion of children being active is extremely low. In 2015, just 1 in 4 (23%) boys and 1 in 5 (20%) girls aged 5-15 met the recommendation of 60 minutes of activity each day.

The report makes a number of recommendations to both Government and local areas to help children become more active.

Government

  1. Put out of school activity at the heart of the plan to reduce obesity.
  2. Focus on play and activity in response to other challenges faced by children, including mental health and technology use.
  3. Reduce the bureaucracy in getting financial help for childcare after school and during school holidays.
  4. Fund holiday play schemes in disadvantaged areas.
  5. Make children’s play and physical activity a public health priority.

Local areas

  1. Think strategically about how to promote play, and work with local venues to maximise the use of existing facilities.
  2. Focus on making parks and other areas a safe, child-friendly space.
  3. Fund holiday and out of school activities for every looked after child.

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September 2018 - Love Activity, Hate Exercise? Public Campaign

A new campaign, launched by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, is designed to get the nation moving. Evidence shows that being physically active has enormous benefits for physical and mental health. But many people find it hard to do as much as they would like. This can be for any number of reasons, including pain, fear, fatigue, a lack of time or motivation.

The Love activity, Hate exercise? campaign aims to help people overcome these barriers through expert advice and guidance from physiotherapists. It features practical tips for getting started, useful condition-specific insights and inspiring stories from other people.

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August 2018 - Exercise Shown to Improve Symptoms of Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

Just 12 weeks of aerobic and strength-based exercise reduces symptoms and levels of fatigue in patients with chronic kidney disease, a study in Leicester has found.

The study was carried out by Leicester’s Hospitals and University of Leicester Kidney Lifestyle Team, led by Professor Alice Smith. The researchers randomly divided 36 non-dialysis patients with chronic kidney disease into two groups. The first group completed aerobic exercises, such as walking and cycling. The second group was given strength training exercises, such as leg presses, in addition to the aerobic activities. Exercises were completed three times per week for the duration of the study. The difficulty of the exercises was increased as the patients got fitter and stronger.

Across both groups, the total number of symptoms was reduced by 17 per cent, with large improvements seen in fatigue, with reductions between 10 and 16 per cent. Performing aerobic exercise reduced the symptom ‘shortness of breath’ by 40 per cent, and ‘itching’ by 35 per cent. By adding strength training exercises, participants reported an increase in ‘muscle strength and power’ by 41 per cent, as well as feeling less weak and having fewer muscle spasms and episodes of stiffness.

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August 2018 - Charity Uses Sport and Physical Activity to Help Adults Affected by MS

The MS Active Together project uses sport and physical activity to help improve the lives of adults with MS in Scotland. The volunteer-led project evaluates the best method for people with MS and affected by MS, such as carers and family members, to remain or start to be active.

It’s estimated that 100,000 people in the UK have MS, a neurological condition that can cause muscle spasms and pain. The project, launched in 2017, has successfully co-ordinated and signposted several 'try' sessions by partnering with organisations who provide sports such as archery, curling and walking football. Other free sessions include seated yoga, general exercise, pilates and TRX (total body resistance training). The project is continuing to explore other collaborations to provide MS specific sessions, including with Basketball Scotland to deliver a free, inclusive basketball session and Taoist Tai Chi to provide tai chi. So far, the project has worked with over 150 individuals.

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August 2018 - Being Overweight Changes Heart Health in Young People

Increased weight in young adults causes higher blood pressure and a thickening of the heart muscle, according to research part-funded by the British Heart Foundation and the University of Bristol and published in Circulation.

Using data and participants from Bristol’s Children of the 90s study, this is the first time that body mass index (BMI) – an internationally recognised index of weight for height – has been shown likely to have a causal link to detailed measures of cardiovascular health in a population of young, healthy people.

Researchers first looked at the relationship between BMI and routinely collected cardiovascular measures, such as blood pressure and heart rate, in more than 3,000 17-year olds. Then they worked with more than 400 21-year old participants (again from the Children of the 90s study), to undertake detailed cardiovascular scans in those who had differences in their BMI which could be anticipated by genetic data. Using a variety of methods, researchers were able to conclude that variation in BMI is likely to be causally linked to differences in cardiovascular health in young age. Until now, most studies have looked at the association between BMI and cardiovascular health in adults.

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July 2018 - Golf and Health

Golf is good for your health and happiness – and could save millions of pounds for local authorities, according to new research. The findings are the result of an investigation by England Golf, Mytime Active and ukactive into the impact of playing golf on health and wellbeing. Over 3,200 golfers at 12 Mytime Active courses were surveyed about their participation. 

The results suggest the sport is attracting significant numbers of people who haven’t been getting enough exercise and, once they get into golf, they’re likely to keep playing and improving their fitness. The more they play the happier they’ll be, with the golfers who took most activity scoring well above the national average for their mental wellbeing. 

As a result, it is estimated that golf is saving local authorities in the survey area a total of £3.4m a year in health costs. There are even bigger potential savings if the golfers who play the least continue their participation and become more active. The findings will be used to investigate the possibility of making golf available on referral by GPs. It will also help to find other ways to encourage inactive golfers to play more and to generally promote the health benefits of the game.

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July 2018 - Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer

Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer: A Global Perspective, is the third expert report from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund. It reviews the latest evidence from the past decade to develop the most reliable cancer prevention advice currently available.

Key findings

  • Weight: The evidence linking body fatness to cancer is overwhelming and has grown stronger over the past decade. There is strong evidence that being overweight or obese is a cause of 12 cancers.
  • Physical Activity: Being physically active can provide powerful protection against cancer. Physical activity can help protect directly from three cancers and also helps maintain a healthy weight, which reduces cancer risk further.
  • Diet: A healthy pattern of eating and drinking is associated with a lower risk of cancer as well as reducing the risk of weight gain.

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July 2018 - £215 Million Research Fund to Tackle the Next Generation of Health Challenges

The government has announced a £215 million package of funding for research that could transform the lives of millions of people who are living with a range of conditions, including life-long illnesses, mental health issues and obesity.

An investment of £150 million will fund research over the next five years to tackle important emerging issues, including the pressures of an ageing population and the increasing demands on the NHS.

The remaining £65 million will go towards 13 National Institute for Health Research policy research units that will play a vital role in making sure the government and arm’s length bodies have the best possible information and evidence available when making policy decisions about health and social care.

The units will cover a range of specialisms and conditions, including:

  • behavioural science
  • adult social care
  • older people and frailty
  • cancer awareness, screening and early diagnosis

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July 2018 - Indoor Cycling Leads the Way Among Exercise Classes, Shows 'Moving Communities' Report

Indoor group cycling classes have confirmed their status as the most popular group workout in the UK according to a new industry report from ukactive and the DataHub. New data indicates that group cycling makes up 13% of all exercise classes – demonstrating the enduring popularity of the high-intensity workout.

The findings are included in a new report called Moving Communities: Active Leisure Trends 2018, which shows how leisure facilities across the UK are evolving to meet emerging consumer demand. Using data from more than three million customers and 150 million individual visits across 396 leisure centres over the past three years, the report offers an unparalleled overview of the leisure landscape and how Brits are getting fit.

Other key insights from the report include:

  • Group workouts are far more popular with women than men, 38% of women visits are for group exercise compared to 14% of men’s visits. Women also make up 74% of group exercise participants
  • Swimming rises in popularity with age, making up 39% of visits for people aged 75 and over, compared to just 8% for those aged 16 to 24
  • Football is becoming an increasingly popular pastime when it comes to the types of sports played at leisure facilities – rising from 30% of non-core visits in 2016 to 37% in 2018.

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July 2018 - Visits to Parks on the Rise as City Dwellers Head Outdoors

Increasing numbers of people living in cities and towns across England are visiting the natural environment. Visits to city parks and green spaces in England were up by 25% in 2016 as compared to 2010, new research published by Natural England has revealed.

Natural England’s Urban Greenspaces report also found that more people are visiting the natural environment within towns and cities across England than ever before with an estimated 879 million visits to parks in towns and cities in 2015/16.

Data from March 2009 to February 2016 was analysed, and showed:

  • Urban greenspaces are increasingly utilised with an estimated 1.46 billion visits in 2015/16 compared with 1.16 billion visits in 2009/10
  • 93% of the urban population claimed to have taken visits to the natural environment for recreation in the last 12 months
  • There has been a decrease in the use of cars and vans to reach urban greenspaces between 2010 and 2016 with around seven in ten visits taken on foot in 2015
  • Public parks, recreation grounds and other greenspaces were the most common places visited within towns and cities (47%, 9% and 14% of all visits respectively), but people also reported visiting urban woodlands (5%), rivers and canals (7%)
  • For some urban residents visits to the natural environment may be the only opportunity to exercise.

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July 2018 - Major Health Benefits from Strengthening and Balance Activity

An evidence review commissioned by Public Health England and the Centre for Ageing Better has found that muscle and bone strengthening and balance activities continue to have great health benefits for all adults, including older adults aged 65 years and over.

In older adults, poor muscle strength increases the risk of a fall by 76% and those who have already had a fall are three times more likely to fall again. Strengthening and balance activities not only help to prevent this, but also help improve mood, sleeping patterns, increase energy levels and reduce the risk of an early death.

The review underlines the importance of the UK Chief Medical Officers’ guidance that all adults need to undertake strengthening and balance activities suitable for them at least twice per week in order to maintain and improve health.

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June 2018 - Promoting a Healthier Weight for Children, Young People and Families: Consistent Messaging

Public Health England (PHE) has published a suite of resources focused on promoting a healthier weight for children, young people and families. These resources are intended to support health and care professionals to be consistent and provide a core set of healthy weight messages throughout the life course. This suite of resources is part of PHE’s All Our Health ‘call to action’ for health and care professionals. Resources include:

  • Consistent messaging infographics: Each infographic highlights the key evidence-based healthy weight messages for specific age or target groups.
  • Consistent messaging slide sets: The aim of these slides is to be used as a training tool to inform workforce development. They provide detailed evidence-based healthy weight messages from preconception through to age 18 years.
  • Child obesity animation: This animation demonstrates the vital role health and care professionals play in supporting children, young people and families to maintain a healthier weight from pregnancy through to the transition to adulthood.

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June 2018 - Sitting Netball - Inspiring Mental Wellbeing in Elderly Care Houses

London Sport has supported the development of an eight-week sitting netball programme in elderly care homes in two London local authority areas (Harrow and Barnet). Sitting netball is a static, simpler version of the original game that takes place in residential care homes. Practising basic ball skills, residents take it in turns to shoot the ball into the hoop. The activity can be adjusted to meet the residents’ needs.

Following an eight-week programme in elderly care homes in Harrow and Barnet, the results from the programme have been published in an infographic.

Key findings include:

  • 94% of participants felt happier after sitting netball
  • 98% do at least one physical activity session a week, compared with 62% at the start
  • 79% felt close to other people often or all the time, compared with 47% at the start.

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June 2018 - Are Healthcare Workers the Answer to Improving Mental Health Patients’ Physical Wellbeing in Secure Hospitals?

More value needs to be placed on promoting exercise for people with severe mental health issues in secure hospital settings. Researchers from Loughborough University have explored the way healthcare assistants perceive the benefits of exercise for their adult patients, as well as their attitudes to exercise promotion.

The study was carried out in collaboration with St Andrew’s Healthcare, as part of a wider project which aims to increase physical activity through the most effective methods to improve both physical and mental health of patients.

Following interviews with 11 members of staff from St Andrew’s, who all suggested that physical activity would have a positive impact on their patients, Dr Florence Kinnafick, who led the study, explored the barriers which were preventing regular exercise from taking place.

The healthcare assistants who took part in the study were asked about their personal experiences of exercise within a secure facility, as well as their perceptions of exercise as an effective treatment tool for mental health, and their perceived roles and responsibilities for exercise promotion.

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June 2018 - Focus on Brisk Walking, Not Just 10,000 Steps, Say Health Experts

With an estimated three million middle-aged adults physically inactive across the country, Public Health England (PHE) and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) are encouraging adults to incorporate brisk walking into their days as a way to improve their general health and wellbeing. Health experts are encouraging people to increase the intensity of their walking, rather than just focus on the distance or number of steps.

A new survey by PHE looking at people’s perceptions of physical activity found that:

  • Many adults struggle to fit in exercise, not having enough time (31%) was the main reason cited, followed by not feeling motivated (27%) and being too tired (25%)
  • Half of these adults (50%) think more than 240 minutes of exercise per week is required to see general health benefits, nearly double the recommended guidance of at least 150 minutes – and 1 in 7 (15%) think that more than 420 minutes per week is required (an hour per day)
  • Nearly 9 in 10 (87%) say they walk more than 10 minutes per day, however, this drops to just over half (54%) who say they walk briskly for this amount of time.

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June 2018 - WHO Launches Global Action Plan on Physical Activity

The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a new Global action plan on physical activity and health 2018-2030: More active people for a healthier world.

Worldwide, one in five adults, and four out of five adolescents (11-17 years), do not do enough physical activity. Girls, women, older adults, poorer people, people with disabilities and chronic diseases, marginalised populations, and indigenous people have fewer opportunities to be active. 

The action plan shows how countries can reduce physical inactivity in adults and adolescents by 15% by 2030. It recommends a set of 20 policy areas, which combined, aim to create more active societies through improving the environments and opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to do more walking, cycling, sport, active recreation, dance and play.

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June 2018 - Making Sure We Can All Take a Walk in the Park

The Ramblers and the Town & Country Planning Association have released a new report on Walking in Urban Parks and Green Spaces.Walking in urban parks and green spaces is great for our physical and mental health and the new report explores the ways it can be made easier for people of all ages and backgrounds in urban areas to take a walk in the park.

People were surveyed about their attitudes to urban green spaces. Sixty-seven percent of people walk in parks at least once a week, however, certain groups were put off visiting their local parks for various reasons:

  • One third of 16-24 year olds (33%) said they would be discouraged from using local green spaces because of safety concerns
  • 67% of people said they would walk more if their parks were better maintained
  • 35% of people over 75 said they would walk more often if there were more benches in their park.

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June 2018 - Everyday Changes to Diet and Exercise Could Avoid 26,000 Cases of Cancer a Year in Women

Around 500 cases of cancer in women every week in the UK could be prevented by keeping a healthy weight and increasing exercise. The latest figures, calculated from 2015 cancer data, found that whilst smoking remains the biggest preventable cause of cancer, everyday changes to live a little more healthily can have a large impact.

By keeping a healthy weight, drinking less alcohol, eating more fibre, cutting down on processed meat and being more active, more than 26,000 cancer cases in women could be avoided each year. This equates to 15% of all cancers diagnosed in women each year in the UK. More than 24,000 cases of cancer in men could also be avoided with the same approach.

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June 2018 - Regular Exercise May be More Beneficial for Men than Post-Menopausal Women

The blood vessels of middle-aged men and women adapt differently to regular exercise according to new research presented at the British Cardiovascular Society conference in Manchester. Researchers at Loughborough University examined the effects of regular exercise training on the blood vessels of 12 men and post-menopausal women. Blood pressure and arterial stiffness were assessed before and one hour after a brisk walk.

Their preliminary findings suggest that arterial stiffness, an independent risk factor for heart disease, is higher in women compared with age-matched men. A single bout of brisk walking improved arterial stiffness and blood pressure in both groups, however, arterial stiffness remained higher in women. Interestingly, the improvements in arterial stiffness were related to changes in blood pressure in men only, suggesting possible sex-differences in how the blood vessels adapt and respond to exercise. 

Research has shown that regular physical activity helps reduce the stiffening of the arteries, which in turn lowers a person’s risk of developing heart or circulatory disease. However, the blood vessels of men and women appear to adapt differently to regular exercise, with post-menopausal women demonstrating less exercise-associated benefits than men.

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June 2018 - Growing evidence that Exercise Helps People with Bone Cancer

There is a growing evidence to show that exercise improves outcomes for people with cancer of the bone and other parts of the body, says guidance from Macmillan Cancer Support.

The guidance, endorsed by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Oncology and Palliative Care, makes recommendations for all health professionals treating metastatic bone cancer.

People with metastatic bone cancer should be informed about the benefits of physical activity, it says. They should also receive training on how to self-monitor for signs and symptoms that should be brought to the attention of their health team.

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May 2018 - ukactive and RSPH Call for GPs in Gyms

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and ukactive have called for GP drop-in and smoking cessation services inside gyms and leisure centres, to help ease pressure on local health facilities and improve access to health improvement services.    

A majority of gym users (53%) would be comfortable accessing these services, according to research conducted by RSPH and ukactive, and supported by Technogym. The recommendation forms part of a new joint report exploring how fitness professionals can play an enhanced role in supporting the public’s health, entitled Going the Distance: Exercise professionals in the wider public health workforce.

Approximately 400,000 people work in fitness in Britain, representing a huge untapped resource for public health. The report captures the views of exercise professionals, gym-users and senior learning and development directors in the sector.

The research highlights an urgent need for local authority public health teams, GP surgeries and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to establish and maintain closer ties with local fitness facilities – ensuring a more joined-up approach to public health.

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May 2018 - Physical Activity in Adolescence

The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine has updated its position statement physical activity in adolescence. The statement is a useful reference document for both the sport and exercise medicine community and all health professionals, with evidence-informed recommendations for health-related physical activity.

The statement highlights recent objective studies, which have collected data using accelerometry, indicate that less than 25% of adolescents accumulate an average of 60 min per day of moderate physical activity. The guidelines include information on muscle strength, skeletal health, obesity, mental health and wellbeing with recommendations for the type and length of regular physical activity in this population.

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May 2018 - Research Shows Social Support Can Help with Maternal Mental Health

Across many different populations, those with better social support tend to fair better in the face of adversity. Undergraduate students in Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences have been exploring maternal mental health and the roles of different forms of support, including physical activity.

The students, supervised by Dr Gemma Witcomb, have used online questionnaires to survey new mums, with questions covering social media use, sources of support, patterns of and barriers to physical activity and measuring anxiety, depression, perceived parenting competence and social comparison.

One study looking at social media use found that mums with one child used Facebook more than mums with two or more children, and that mums with one child scored lower on measures of perceived parenting competence compared to those with two or more. These findings suggest new mums are looking to Facebook to engage with other mums.

The second study found that engaging in mum and baby fitness classes was associated with lower scores on a measure of post-natal depression than in engaging in no exercise or exercising alone. This may be due to the increased social support received at the mum and baby classes or a benefit of engaging in better, more structured activity, or it may reflect better mental health to engage with such activities.

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March 2018 - New NICE Guidance on Physical Activity and the Environment

This new guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) covers how to improve the physical environment to encourage and support physical activity. The aim is to increase the general population’s physical activity levels. The recommendations in this guideance should be read alongside NICE's guideline on physical activity: walking and cycling.

This guidance includes recommendations on:

  • active travel
  • public open spaces
  • strategies, policies and plans to increase physical activity in the local environment
  • buildings
  • schools.

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March 2018 - Obesity Risk Doubles for Teens Bombarded with Junk Food Adverts

Teenagers are more than twice as likely to be obese if they can remember seeing a junk food advert every day compared to those who couldn’t recall any over a month, according to a report by Cancer Research UK. 

This included ads on TV, billboards and social media, and is the largest survey of its kind to make a link between these forms of advertising and weight. Obese teenagers were more likely to recall social media adverts than the other mediums, so this platform had the greatest association with obesity.

The report was based on a YouGov survey which questioned 3,348 young people in the UK between 11-19 about their TV viewing habits, diet and their BMI.

Following statistical analysis the results also revealed that teens from the most deprived communities were 40% more likely to remember seeing junk food advertisements every day compared to teens from better-off families. 

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March 2018 - Mental Health Pilot Launched

A six-month rapid pilot has launched in Greater Manchester schools to deliver mental health and emotional wellbeing support to children in response to rising mental health struggles in young people.

One in ten children currently experience a mental health difficulty. The programme is a new collaboration between the Youth Sport Trust, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, the Alliance for Learning Teaching School (part of Bright Futures Educational Trust), 42nd Street and Place2Be.

More than 30 primary and secondary schools will be involved before a full launch over the next couple of months. Students will be supported to build their confidence and reach their full potential; coached in key life skills such as growing their self-esteem, learning creative thinking skills and coping strategies for challenges.

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March 2018 - Public Health Perceptions Survey

In November 2017 the Local Government Association conducted a survey of lead members of public health in England. The aim of this was to capture the thoughts of local leaders on public health delivered by their local authority, the priorities councils have set themselves and their ambitions for the future.

Key findings

  • Most respondents (96%) agreed or tended to agree that their council has a clear vision to improve public health for the local population, and the commissioning of public health services is well supported by their council.
  • Similar proportions agreed or tended to agree that their council is aware of its issues and challenges with regard to public health, and knows how to address these issues (93%) and that their council has delivered better public health outcomes for the local population (92%).
  • The top priorities for public health in their local area among respondents are giving children the best start in life (88%), healthy ageing (67%) and strong communities, wellbeing and resilience (56%).
  • The health issue that respondents’ councils are most concerned with at the present time are mental health (27%), obesity in children (25%) and drug and alcohol abuse (17%).

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March 2018 - Aquatic Activity for Health Qualification Launched

Swim England has launched the UK’s first qualification focusing on aquatic activity for health.

Aimed at fitness instructors who work with participants that have been referred by health professionals, the Level 3 Aquatic Activity for Health qualification provides training on how to support people in the pool.

The qualification has been developed following research by Swim England’s Swimming and Health Commission, which showed the many positive benefits of exercising in the water.

With more fitness instructors qualified to deliver aquatic-based referral exercises, it is anticipated that many more people will be supported to better manage a range of long and short-term health conditions, and be able to recover quicker from injuries.

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January 2018 - BHF, Cancer Research UK, Diabetes UK and Tesco Join Forces in New Healthy Living Partnership

The British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Diabetes UK have come together with Tesco to help tackle some of the UK’s biggest health challenges.

The partnership, “Little helps for healthier living”, brings together the skills and expertise of some of the UK's biggest health charities with the scale and reach of Tesco to help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and Type 2 diabetes.

Over the next five years, the four organisations will work together to help Tesco’s 300,000 UK colleagues and millions of UK shoppers by removing the barriers to healthier habits.

A key starting point will be to establish the UK’s leading workplace health programme, providing the Tesco workforce with healthy deals and discounts, free health checks, and a growing focus on supporting the mental health of colleagues.

The four organisations have pledged to share the findings from their work across the wider UK health community to help accelerate progress towards national and international public health goals. The aim is to bring about a measurable improvement on the health of the nation, by developing Little Helps that make a big difference to shopping baskets all over Britain.

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January 2018 - Exercise is a Top Prescription for Mild Cognitive Impairment

Exercise is a top prescription for mild cognitive impairment - new recommendations from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) prescribe aerobic exercise rather than pharmacological medication for patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to improve their memory and thinking.

These new recommendations are an update to the AAN's previous guideline on mild cognitive impairment and are endorsed by the Alzheimer's Association. The academy's new guidelines were updated after a Mayo Clinic-led team of researchers from a variety of institutions conducted a meta-analysis of all available MCI studies.

MCI is an intermediate stage of cognitive decline that is less serious than the declines associated with dementia. People with MCI demonstrate some cognitive impairment but have minimal impairment of instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). Symptoms of mild cognitive impairment include problems with memory, language, overall thinking, and judgment that tend to be more severe than typical age-related changes in cognition. 

The most significant takeaway of these new guidelines is that six-month studies showed twice-weekly workouts could help people with mild cognitive impairment as part of an overall approach to managing their symptoms. Notably, the new MCI guidelines do not recommend the use of medication. Instead, the latest recommendation is for health care practitioners to prescribe aerobic exercise to improve both thinking and memory of MCI patients. 

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January 2018 - Forget The Gym, Make Active Travel Your New Year Resolution

You don’t have to join the gym in the New Year to work off the Christmas turkey. Sustrans recommends introducing active travel into your daily routine to improve your health and fitness. Swapping the car for the bike can also save you time and money.

To demonstrate, Sustrans' award-winning ‘Leading the Way’ Workplaces programme has produced two short films which compare driving to work with both cycling and running the same journey. The films show a typical car journey to work in Derry~Londonderry, with the aim of inspiring commuters to reconsider whether driving is really the most convenient, beneficial mode of transport.

Derry City and Strabane District Council – on behalf of the Public Health Agency (PHA) – commissioned Sustrans to run the workplace active travel programme ‘Leading the Way’ in the North West for staff in the Western Health & Social Care Trust (WHSCT), PHA and the Council itself. This programme encourages staff to travel to and from work by sustainable means: walking, cycling, car-sharing and public transport. It mirrors a similar workplace programme which has been running for three years in Belfast.

The programme runs various initiatives to encourage staff to be more active for their journeys to and from work and throughout their working day. 

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January 2018 - New University Research To Help Truck Drivers Get Their Health Back On The Road

A new NIHR-funded study led by Loughborough University is helping truck drivers in the Midlands get healthy by encouraging higher levels of physical activity and a healthier diet that fits in with their work schedule. Long distance lorry drivers are exposed to a multitude of health risks associated with their job, including long and variable working hours and long periods of sitting. Tight schedules and being on the road can contribute to psychological stress and sleep deprivation.Their working environment provides limited opportunities for a healthy lifestyle. As a consequence, lorry drivers exhibit higher than average rates of obesity, obesity-related co-morbidities such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and have a significantly reduced life expectancy in comparison to other occupational groups.Researchers led by Dr Stacy Clemes at Loughborough University, in partnership with researchers from the University of Leicester and University of York, have teamed up with logistics company DHL to test the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the research team’s ‘Structured Health Intervention For Truckers’ (the SHIFT programme). The aim of the programme is to promote positive behavioural changes in terms of increased physical activity and a healthier diet.

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December 2017 - Active Lives Data Shows Physical Activity Link to Mental Wellbeing

A new report using data from Sport England’s Active Lives Survey explores the relationship between engaging in physical activity or volunteering and mental wellbeing, individual development and social and community development.

Taking part in physical activity and volunteering in sport are positively linked with mental wellbeing, individual development and social and community development. Higher levels of engagement in these activities was linked with better outcomes for both participation in physical activity and volunteering.

The highest scores on the outcome measures were found in people who participated in both physical activity and volunteering.

The report was compiled by The Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, using data from the Active Lives Adult Survey from May 2016 to May 2017.

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December 2017 - Best Buys for Preventing Non Communicable Diseases

The World Health Organization has released a list of ‘Best Buys’ and recommended interventions to address non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Mortality and morbidity from NCDs is one of the major challenges for the 21st Century with more than 36 million people dying each year from NCDs.

The best buy for physical activity is considered to be the implementation of community-wide public education and awareness campaigns for physical activity which include mass media campaigns combined with other community-based education, motivational and environmental programmes aimed at supporting behavioural change of physical activity levels.

Other cost effective interventions include the provision of physical activity counselling and referral as part of routine primary health care services through the use of a brief interventions. The list also contains recommended interventions that have not been subject to a cost analysis.

The report contains 88 interventions for

  • the four key behavioural risk factors for NCDs - tobacco, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity
  • four key disease areas - cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory disease.

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December 2017 - Health Survey for England, 2016

The latest statistics for adult physical activity levels in England have been released in the Health Survey for England (HSE), revealing that physical activity levels have remained stable since they were last measured in the survey in 2012.

Sixty-six percent of men over the age of 19 (the same as 2012) and 58% of women meet the physical activity guidelines (compared to 56% in 2012). These figures vary by level of deprivation, ranging from 50% of people meeting physical activity guidelines in the most deprived groups to 68% of people meeting guidelines in the least deprived groups.

When assessing the proportion of adults who meet both the aerobic physical activity guidelines and the strength physical activity guidelines, only 26% of adults meet both.

The survey covers core topics every year and the 2016 survey included additional questions for adults on physical activity, In total 8,011 adults (aged 16 and over) and 2,056 children (aged 0-15) were interviewed and 5,049 adults and 1,127 children had a nurse visit.

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November 2017 - Getting University Students Active

There is a significant gender gap in the participation rates of Higher Education students. Women in Sport partnered up with British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) to share insights into how to engage inactive female students within universities.

Student Activators focused on engaging students and collating feedback to understand the barriers the ‘less sporty’ students face when participating in sport and physical activity. The programme saw an increase in diverse groups of women enjoying the new activities offered by universities.

The report contains the following recommendations:

  • Engaging Student Activators – Engaging students in these roles offers them a development opportunity as well as getting a new audience moving.
  • Engaging new audiences means doing things differently – Whether it is about communicating in new ways, running new activities or finding new coaches.
  • Consultation is key – If you don’t ask then you won’t know, understanding female students is the only way to support them in being active.
November 2017 - Keeping Older Adults Active

ukactive has released a report calling for innovative solutions for keeping older adults active and independent to prevent disease and save money for the NHS and social care.

Looking at ageing in residential care, at home and in the community, the report notes the effects of ageing and loss of fitness are often conflated, placing older adults at greater risk of ill health due to the widely held belief that they should take it easy.

The report recommends a National Activity Therapy Service that would see signposting to physical activity opportunities and practical advice on how to be more active feature in every contact between carer professionals and patients. The service would also see specially trained exercise professionals embedded into GP practices.

DOWNLOAD: Moving more, ageing well

October 2017 - Hectic Lifestyles and Winter Weather Negatively Impact UK's Health and Wellbeing

To help get people more active as winter closes in, The National Charity Partnership (Tesco, Diabetes UK and British Heart Foundation) has produced a series of Winter Warm Up videos to encourage more adults to reclaim an extra ten minutes from their busy lives to focus on health and wellbeing.

During winter, an average UK adult spends just one hour and 12 minutes a week doing moderate activity such as walking or cycling. The Charity Partnership warn that such low rates of inactivity can contribute to rising levels of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

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October 2017 - What Are Organisations Doing to Improve Men and Boys Health?

The Men’s Health Forum is looking for feedback about what organisations are doing to improve men and boys health. The aim is to ensure that its government contacts understand the priorities of the sector and to provide a way of sharing information about organisations activities that support men and boys health.

Whether you are from an organisation that supports or represents men and boys or just interested in how you or your organisation can do more to support men, Men’s Health Forum want to hear from you.

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October 2017 - Exercise Guidelines for Adults with Spinal Cord Injury Launched

New exercise guidelines for adults with spinal cord injury have been launched to inform people how much exercise is needed for fitness and cardiometabolic health benefits.

To improve fitness, adults with spinal cord injury should:

  • engage in at least 20 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic exercise two times a week
  • three sets of moderate strengthening exercise for each major functional muscle groups two times per week.

To improve cardiometabolic health, adults with spinal cord injury should:

  • engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic exercise, three times per week.

The new guidelines were developed by researchers from the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine East Midlands and colleagues in Canada. They were developed through a series of consensus panels.

Over the coming months, groups in the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden and other countries will work with spinal injury charities, disability sport organisations, rehabilitation units and people with spinal cord injury to gather feedback to inform how the scientific version of the guidelines will be translated into community and clinical practice and implemented in these countries.

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October 2017 - Resources for Child Weight Management Services

Public Health England has released a series of evidence-based resources for child weight management programmes.

Short conversations with families: This resource provides advice and tools to support health and care professionals on how to initiate conversations about weight management with families and refer into weight management services where appropriate.

Systematic review of child weight management services: This systematic review aimed to identify the programme characteristics, and combination of characteristics associated with successful outcomes. The report found that the three key features of weight management programmes that support patients are 1) showing families how to change rather than telling them what to change 2) getting all the family on board 3) enabling social support from peers.

Collecting and recording data: A tool for service providers to collect and record tier 2 weight management services data, supporting consistent collection and reporting of outcomes in the services.

Commission and provide services: Guidance for commissioners and those who provide services, which follows the journey of a children through a weight management service, providing recommendations, considerations and resources to put this in practice.

September 2017 - NICE guidance Recommends Lifestyle Changes and Physical Activity for Type 2 Diabetes

People at risk of developing type 2 diabetes should have access to lifestyle change programmes to help them improve their diet and do more exercise as part of updated clinical guidance by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The recommendations for physical activity advise healthcare professionals to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity and provide tailored advice.

DOWNLOAD: Type 2 diabetes: prevention in people at high risk

September 2017 - Draft Consultation on Physical Activity and the Environment

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is calling for responses to its draft consultation on physical activity and the environment.

The draft consultation includes recommendations on:

  1. strategies, policies and plans to increase physical activity in the local environment
  2. active travel
  3. public open spaces.

To respond to the consultation, your organisation must be registered as a stakeholder and you can complete your response using the comments form available on the website. The consultation will close on 02 October 2017 at 17:00.

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September 2017 - Trends in Child BMI

Latest figures from the National Child Measurement Programme reveal that the year on year increase in Year 6 children’s body mass index continues. This is in contrast with a significant downward trend in the prevalence of obesity among Reception boys in the period 2006/07 to 2015/16.

The inequality gap in overweight, obese and excess weight categories is increasing across the country for all age groups.

The new report shows the trends in body mass index in Reception and Year 6 children from 2005/06 to 2015/16 measured across England in the National Child Measurement Programme.

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September 2017 - Improving Work Health for a Healthy Economy

A new initiative has been launched to support small businesses in improving work health to create a healthy economy.

Illness among working age people costs the UK economy £100 billion a year. But workplace health and wellbeing programmes such as exercise, healthy eating and stop smoking support can make a real difference. Successful programmes such as these have been found to return £2 to £10 for every £1 spent, benefiting staff wellbeing and economic productivity.

Most big employers already have some plans in place that help to improve and protect their staff’s health but many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) do not currently benefit from such programmes.

Public Health England and Healthy Working Futures, a workplace health provider, has set out advice for SMEs, which account for 60% of private sector employment. It gives SMEs a series of questions on health and wellbeing including smoking, fitness and sleep, which staff can answer anonymously, enabling them to assess the specific needs of their workforce and create tailored steps to improve their staff’s health and wellbeing.

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September 2017 - Public Health Outcomes Framework

Public Health England has published its Public Health Outcomes Framework 2016-19 setting out the desired outcomes for public health and how they will be measured.

The indicator for the proportion of physically active and inactive adults will be those achieving at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week, in accordance with the UK physical activity guidelines taken from Sport England’s Active People Survey.

The document focuses on increased healthy life expectancy, reduced differences in life expectancy, and healthy life expectancy between communities.

To find out more click here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/public-health-outcomes-framework-2016-to-2019

September 2017 - Charity Funded Initiative Cuts Risk of Serious Ill-Health Whilst Significantly Reducing CO2 Emissions

The National Charity Partnership is encouraging more people to leave their cars at home and walk more often in order to halt or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease.

The National Charity Partnership is funding a programme called Beat the Street to tackle sedentary lifestyles in six areas of the UK. Since 2015, the initiative has helped improve the health of some of the UK’s most inactive communities.

Around 150,000 people took part in the National Charity Partnership-funded Beat the Street initiative last year. Results show that all participants became more active throughout the seven-week initiative, with a 13 percent increase in the number of adult participants meeting the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week by the end of the ‘game’. Twelve months on, participants who were previously deemed ‘inactive’ before taking part in Beat the Street had more than doubled their weekly level of physical activity.

The project has been found not only to improve people’s physical activity levels, but to reduce CO2 emissions by hundreds of thousands of kilograms.

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September 2017 - Improving Health and Wellbeing Through National Parks

An accord between National Parks England and Public Health England has been published, representing a high-level commitment to work proactively and practically together to secure better public health outcomes. It draws on the strength of both organisations to deliver this shared goal by capitalising on the significant opportunities for people to improve their physical and mental health and overall wellbeing through interaction with National Parks, and recognising the role which the National Parks play as part of our wider natural environment that can support keeping people healthy.

This document sets out the proposed terms of the collaboration between PHE and National Parks England, and the timetable for implementation.

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August 2017 - Active Travel Toolkit

An Active Travel Toolbox has been launched by Sustrans to help local authorities and their partners make the case for, and improve walking and cycling schemes.

The free toolbox, which includes guides, resources, tools and case studies, is organised into three areas, which can be used for forecasting the impact of planned interventions:

  1. The Infrastructure Impact Tool - estimates the impact of investments in specific types of cycling infrastructure.
  2. The Recreational Expenditure Model - estimates the economic benefit of recreational cycling in terms of expenditure in the local economy.
  3. The Strategic Investment Tool - aids understanding around the impact and cost of multi-intervention investment.

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August 2017 - Impact of Lifestyle Changes on Dementia

A new evidence review has shown that changing some behaviours in midlife can reduce the chances of getting dementia in older age. Dementia risk is increased by physical inactivity, smoking, diabetes, hypertension in midlife, obesity in midlife and depression.

The document, published by Public Health England is designed to help commissioners and researchers make decisions about prioritisation of primary prevention measures relevant to dementia.

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August 2017 - National Travel Survey Results

The latest statistics from the National Travel Survey, 2016 (NTS) show walking is the second most common mode of travel in England.

Walking accounted for 25% of total trips behind cars as the most common, accounting for 62% of trips. However, the distance travelled in walking trips is shorter and therefore only accounts for 3% of the total distance travelled.

Overall, the number of trips per person and total time spent travelling have remained broadly stable since the 1970s. The distance travelled has grown because of an increase in average trip length, particularly from increasing car availability.

Key findings

  • The average person walked for 243 trips (average length of 16 minutes) per year, travelling 198 miles by foot.
  • 11% of commuting trips were by foot.
  • 65% of respondents walked for 20 minutes or more at least once a week, but 21% of respondents said they walked for 20 minutes or more less than once a year.
  • The main purpose of walking trips were education (21%), shopping (19%), leisure (17%), personal business (9%) or other (23%).
  • 43% of people own or have access to a bike with the highest ownership rates among children.
  • 14% of respondents cycled at least once a week and 10% cycled at least once a month. 66% of respondents cycled less than once a year.

The NTS is an annual statistical release by the Department for Transport, surveying household travel by residents in England to provide a source of data on personal travel behaviour across England.

DOWNLOAD: National Travel Survey: 2016