A positive new Glasgow strategy is in the pipeline to improve physical activity across the city - 'More Glaswegians More Active More Often'.
The draft of the strategy, which was noted at the Board meeting today (Tuesday), was created by the Physical Activity Forum of the Glasgow Healthy City Partnership - which has representatives from bodies like NHS Greater Glasgow, Glasgow City Council and the voluntary sector.
Kevin Lafferty, Senior Health Promotion Officer for NHS Greater Glasgow, explained: "This strategy has basically been designed so that key organisations across Glasgow can work together to increase physical activity in the city for years to come.
"The draft version is already out to consultation with its stakeholders - who are represented on the Physical Activity Forum - and will go to a wider range of public groups following this, with the final version penciled in for summer 2005."
So what was the motivation behind this strategy?
The Senior Health Promotion Officer went on: "Research shows that the health of two thirds of men and three quarters of women in Glasgow is at risk due to physical inactivity.
"The National Physical Activity Strategy - Let's Make Scotland More Active - has set the target of 50% of all adults and 80% of all children under the age of 16 meeting recommended levels of physical activity by 2022. We hope that the development of a Glasgow strategy will help us meet these targets."
Kevin stressed that improved physical health can reduce the risk of conditions such as heart disease, cancer, osteoarthritis and high blood pressure, while improving mental well-being and tackling mild to moderate depression and stress.
So what sort of future work does the draft of the strategy include?
The Senior Health Promotion Officer said that type of work the strategy calls for includes:
* Greater public involvement in designing physical activity services;
* Wider ownership and commitment for the promotion of physical activity in Glasgow;
* An increase in opportunities for older people to get active;
* Making schools more active to help tackle childhood obesity;
* More research and evaluation to monitor what is being done and how effective it is proving;
* Continuing the preservation of green space for people to use for walking, cycling, play and outdoor activities;
* Increasing physical activity opportunities within workplaces.
* Increasing participation in everyday activities such as walking and cycling.
Kevin added: "The current consultation stage is scheduled to end on April 29, at which point we move into the second consultation stage for a wider audience such as the varied community and voluntary groups who can't be individually represented on the Physical Activity Forum. Following this, the draft - with all its input included - will be returned to the Board hopefully for the green light this summer."
But what physical activity work is already going on across Glasgow?
Examples of what's already successfully operating across the city include:
* The Walk into Workout info pack - which promotes the stair climbing campaign;
* The Live Active exercise referral scheme - which sees doctors, practice nurses and physiotherapists 'prescribe' exercise for patients though programmes run at community leisure centres by exercise counsellors;
* Pedal in the Parks - an initiative that gets people with disabilities involved in outdoor activity to improve mental and physical health. This initiative is part of a major research study at the Southern General's Spinal Injuries Unit.
Kevin Lafferty said simply: "We're all looking forward to reaching the final stage of this work and putting the physical activity strategy into practice.
"Not only will this help pave the way for a city that gets More Active More Often, but we hope it will help lay the foundations for a healthier Glasgow in the years to come."
To view the draft strategy, visit www.glasgow.gov.uk/healthycities and respond online. Alternatively, email feedback to [email protected] or write to Kevin Lafferty, NHS Greater Glasgow, Dalian House, 350 St Vincent Street, Glasgow, G3 8YZ.
For media enquiries, contact Caroline Jarvie - tel: 0141 201 4447
NOTES TO EDITORS:
* Stage one of the consultation started on the February 1, 2005
* Adults are recommended to have 30 minutes of some form of physical activity daily, while children under the age of 16 are recommended to have 60 minutes
* 33% of men and 24% of women meet the daily adult target in Glasgow, while 73% of boys and 56% of girls meet the under 16 target.