Public Health Minister,
UK Public Health minister Caroline Flint is working across
government on a new strategy to increase the public's fitness and activity
The Prime Minister asked Caroline Flint to work across government
to develop a strategy building on and developing existing work to transform
the population into a fitter and more active nation in the run up to
the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
She will report to Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Health
and Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and
Olympics Minister. Speaking at the Rowing World Championships at Dorney
Lake, near Windsor, - the venue of the 2012 Olympic rowing and sprint
canoeing events - Ms Flint outlined how she intends to fulfil her new
physical activity role.
" We will be working in partnership with the Department
for Culture, Media and Sport / Department for Communities and Local
Government / Department for Transport / Department for Education and
Skills and delivery bodies like Sport England and will build on the
good work that has already taken place. We will also look at further
opportunities for physical activity across the board and consider the
gaps and priorities. By taking the 'Small Change Big Difference' approach
we will look at ways we can support the public to make minor changes
that will make a long term difference to their health.
_ We need to ensure that sport and
active recreation are accessible to all.
_ The biggest gains to health and
to the economy will be made by encouraging more physical activity
among groups of people who don't
normally do any. We want to help people build physical activity into
their daily routines and another approach could be encouraging more
active travel.We know, for example, that one in five of all car journeys
are less than one mile. If we could continue to encourage more people
to travel by bicycle or on foot for these journeys we would overcome
traffic congestion and improve health.
_ Working with Sport England, the
grass roots delivery body, and with private and third sector organisations
will be a key aspect of
promoting activity, and government funded programmes put into place
by the Amateur Rowing Association are being hailed as an example of
what can be achieved in partnership."
The need to increase the nation's fitness levels is also highlighted
by a new report, due to be published this Friday, which forecasts that
there will be a significant increase in adult obesity levels by 2010.
Figures show that if we sit back and do nothing obesity prevalence
in men will rise from 22% in 2003 to 33% in 2010.
At the Championship event, the ARA launched a guide to partnerships
between Rowing and Health to complement a number of new, innovative
rowing programmes, such as the Indoor Rowing in Schools and Adult Learn
to Row courses.
Caroline Flint added:
" Programmes such as the Indoor Rowing In Schools
will enable many more people to discover and realise an enthusiasm
for rowing and activity. Rowing has never been so accessible and case
studies demonstrate its power to transform sedentary lifestyles."
Richard Caborn, Minister for Sport added:
" Getting more people
to do more sport and physical activity is a priority for us, and there's
real scope for us to build on the very good work that is already taking
place across the country.
_ Sport cuts across all aspects of
life which is why in government we have to work across departments
to get people active.
_ The Amateur Rowing Association's
indoor rowing scheme is a good example of the impact a club to school
link can have. As a result
of this initiative, more children - and many who would not have tried
the sport before - are participating in a high quality club environment,
enjoying themselves, and getting fit."