"Sport is dead" says Tanni Grey-Thompson

"Sport, as an umbrella term, is dead" explained Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson at yesterday's annual ukactive conference, #Summit2015, to which I was honoured to be invited.


Introducing an impressively high profile line-up of speakers, including former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch, Minister for Public Health Jane Ellison, Tanni outlined ukactive's Blueprint For An Active Britain, clearly pointing out that to turn the tide of inactivity, the nation's sporting strategy has to take a broader shape, with 'sport' counted as just one aspect in a full spectrum of activity, from 'movement for daily living' through to 'sport'. The language of sport can be 'counterproductive', she explained. We need a shift towards a more 'inclusive' language of activity.


Here are a few (terrifying) facts to whet your appetite:


1. The national cost of physical inactivity stands at £20 billion per year.


2. 1 in 5 adult men and 1 in 4 adult women are failing to achieve the 30 minutes a day (5 days a week) recommended guideline for physical activity.


3. Today's children are the least active generation in history - only half of all children achieve in the UK achieve the 60 mintues of moderate to rigourous physical activity recommended by the Chief Medical Officer. This 'Generation Inactive' are at higher risk of experiencing physical, mental and social health issues throughout their lives.


4. Studies published in the Lancet have shown that inactivity is as dangerous to an individual's health as smoking, and a recent study of 334,000 European men found that nearly twice as many premature deaths can be attributed to physical inactivity as to obesity.

Tanni then went on to outline the blueprint for a 'turbo-charged' government focus to getting the nation moving. (The full version can be read here.)


1. Embedding activity into all aspects of daily life must be of the highest priroty to government. Barriers that prevent inactive people from making active life decisions need to be broken down.


2. Just like the 'five-a-day' for fruit and vegetables, we should introduce a '5-a-day' approach to physcial activity as a baseline for less active people to work towards, so cutting activity down into 'bite-size' chunks.


3. The development of an evidence-based physical activity service within the NHS, with the service available to everyone who needs it integral to future healthcare planning (eg. Personal Trainers in GP surgeries).


4. One size does not fit all - a range of physical activity opportunities must be available to cater for all audiences in a range of settings.


5. Active Workforce - employers need to promote physical activity within the workplace; it should become as important as the provision of an annual leave allowance.


6. You can neither outrun a bad diet, nor clean-eat away the impact of sedentary feet. We have to get the nation moving too. Obesity strategy must prioritise physical activity as the miracle cure over the obsession with fat and sugar - it's not just the size of our waists, but also the health of our hearts.


7. Whilst getting people moving is the 'golden thread' to improving the overall health of the nation, IT IS ALSO FUN, it makes you feel good, and should be promoted in this way! An example used was to use local, or 'accessible' role models rather than Olympic medalists (see how we do this to encourage children to eat well and get into the kitchen with Lucy and Dan).


8. A balance is needed in terms of measuring children's health. Whilst the weighing of children can be offensive to parents, the govenment should commission further evidence into a standardised baseline for children's fitness, and extend the National Child Measurement Programme to measure it.

(The full version of ukactive's Blueprint for an Active Britain can be read here.)


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