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

September 2019- Health Profile for England 2019

The third annual profile giving a broad picture of the health of people in England in 2019 has been released. Each of the Health Profile for England reports give an annual snapshot of the health of the population in a given year. Introduced in 2017 the subsequent reports are updated and changes to the format made in line with changing priorities.

Where data is available, data, tables and some charts have been updated. The main findings and notable changes since last year are highlighted in an accompanying blog. A slide set of charts and infographics is also available to download online.

Chapters are included on:

  • Population, deaths, life expectancy and healthy life expectancy
  • Trends in mortality
  • Trends in morbidity and behavioural risk factors
  • Children and young people
  • Inequalities in health
  • Wider determinants of health
  • Current and emerging health protection issues

Learn more here

September 2019- New Physical Activity Guidelines Issued by UK Chief Medical Officers

New guidance has been issued by the UK Chief Medical Officers emphasising the importance of building strength and balance for adults, as well as focusing on cardiovascular exercise. Falls are the main reason older people are taken to A&E and could be avoided through daily activities such as brisk walking, carrying heavy shopping, climbing stairs, swimming and gardening.

There is strong evidence that physical activity protects against a range of chronic conditions. Meeting the guidelines can reduce the risk of:

  • type 2 diabetes by 40%
  • coronary heart disease by 35%
  • depression by 30%

The new guidelines are an update to those released in 2011, but the overall message remains the same: any activity is better than none, and more is better still. Under the new guidelines, adults are advised to undertake strength-based exercise at least two days a week. This can help delay the natural decline in muscle mass and bone density that starts from around age 50. It is believed that this is a major reason why older people lose their ability to carry out daily tasks.

The guidance advises on safe levels of activity for pregnant women and new mothers, and the many benefits that this can bring as long as they listen to their body and speak to their health professional. A moderate amount of exercise for new mothers is proven to help them:

  • regain strength
  • ease back pain
  • reduce the risk of gestational diabetes

New advice is also available to encourage good development in babies and children, with the UK Chief Medical Officers recommending lots of ‘tummy time’. As much active play as possible in children under 5 is encouraged, and older children are recommended to be active for an average of 60 minutes a day across the week. To support this, the government will work with nurseries to find fun opportunities for young children to exercise during the day through the new Daily Toddle initiative.

Read more here

January 2019- Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy - Start Well, Live Well, Age Well

The West Sussex Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB) has launched a public consultation on their draft Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy - Start Well, Live Well, Age Well.

The Board is inviting professionals, partners, communities, residents and other stakeholders to give their views on the draft strategy to help reshape the final document. All feedback received will be considered at the end of the consultation.

Click here to respond

January 2019- 10 Year Olds in the UK have Consumed 18 Years' Worth of Sugar

Children have already exceeded the maximum recommended sugar intake for an 18 year old by the time they reach their tenth birthday, according to Public Health England (PHE). This is based on their total sugar consumption from the age of 2. This figure comes as a new Change4Life campaign supporting families to cut back on sugar and to help tackle growing rates of childhood obesity is launched.

While children’s sugar intakes have declined slightly in recent years, they are still consuming around eight excess sugar cubes each day, equivalent to around 2,800 excess sugar cubes per year. To help parents manage this, Change4Life is encouraging them to ‘Make a swap when you next shop’. Making simple everyday swaps can reduce children’s sugar intake from some products (yoghurts, drinks and breakfast cereals) by half – while giving them healthier versions of the foods and drinks they enjoy.

Parents can try swapping:

  • a higher-sugar yoghurt (for example split-pot) for a lower sugar one, to halve their sugar intake from 6 cubes of sugar to 3
  • a sugary juice drink for a no-added sugar juice drink, to cut back from 2 cubes to half a cube
  • a higher-sugar breakfast cereal (such as a frosted or chocolate cereal) for a lower sugar cereal, to cut back from 3 cubes to half a cube per bowl.

Read more

January 2019- England's Chief Medical Officer's Annual Report 2018: Better Health Within Reach

Professor Dame Sally Davies' tenth report as Chief Medical Officer considers what the state of the public’s health in England in 2040 could look like. The report concludes that there are reasons to be optimistic but that greater effort to improve the health environment is required – it should be easier to take the healthy option.

There are four main sections in the report, discussing:

  • health as the nation’s primary asset
  • the health environment we live in and build together
  • using emerging technologies to improve health for everyone
  • effective planning for the future.

Professor Dame Sally Davies’ report is independent of government and is aimed at government, regulators, policy-makers and healthcare professionals. Each recommendation is targeted at specific organisations. The report has been developed with the help of expert academic input.

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December 2018 - New European Website on Exercise Guidelines for People with a Spinal Cord Injury

A new website highlighting exercise guidelines for people with a spinal cord injury (SCI) has been launched by Loughborough academics in association with European partners. Disabled people are twice as likely to be physically inactive than able-bodied people, therefore understanding the amount and type of activity they need to do to benefit their health is important. The scientific guidelines were developed in 2017 by an international group of 29 researchers, clinicians, community organisations and people with spinal cord injury.

Following on from the launch of the exercise guidelines in 2017 the new website www.sciguidelines.eu has resources in six European languages to aid in disseminating the information across Europe. The guidelines have been translated into five languages, as well as English, to make them accessible to as many people across Europe as possible. They are available in English, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and Swedish.

As well as clear and concise information on the guidelines themselves, an infographic is also available in each language which outlines the process behind the development of the guidelines. Videos can be viewed highlighting what the guidelines are and why they are important in a number of languages. These also include animations which make the guidelines message easily accessible. Each page contains a local contact for people in their area to get in touch with if they have any questions about the guidelines or would like to know more about dissemination in their country. There is also a related resources section signposting towards resources in each country that users may also find helpful.

Read more

December 2018 - Pocket Parks Plus: Supporting Parks and Public Spaces

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is providing a £1 million fund to support the development of new pocket parks and to refurbish existing parks that have fallen into disrepair where their restoration could have a significant positive impact on the local community and address a specific local need.

The scheme provides grants to community-led bodies working in partnership with their local authority with the aim of creating new pocket parks or bringing existing green spaces up to a safe, usable standard and ensuring long-term support for those initiatives. A pocket park is a piece of land of up to 0.4 hectares, (although many are around 0.02 hectares, the size of a tennis court) which may already be under grass, but which is unused, undeveloped or derelict.

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December 2018 - #Trainbrave Campaign to Raise Awareness of the Risks of Eating Disorders and RED-s

A campaign has been launched to raise awareness of the prevalence of eating disorders and relevant energy deficiency in sports (RED-s) among athletes. Global studies have shown that there is a 20% higher prevalence amongst athletes of all ages and abilities to develop a dysfunctional relationship with food and training. The #Trainbrave campaign aims to encourage athletes and coaches to talk more, and not just about performances. Being brave enough to share their mutual concerns and asking each other for help, as well as fuelling training sufficiently, recognising warning signs of disordered behaviour and reducing the risks of overtraining.

Read more

December 2018 - Businesses to Reduce Social Isolation with New Initiative

Living Streets has launched Walking Friends an initiative which helps businesses meet their corporate social responsibility targets whilst boosting the lives of the local communities in which they operate.

Living Streets trains employees to become walk leaders. These ‘walking friends’ then organise led walks for people aged 65+ in the local community.

There are over 10.8 million people over 65 in the UK, 3.8 million of whom live alone. Research from Age UK found that one million older people say they always, or often, feel lonely, and nearly one in five see their family, friends or neighbours less than weekly.

For the first-time, the Government recently published its Loneliness Strategy, aimed at helping increase the quality of life for our ageing population. The Strategy recognises the importance of older people staying active and social through walking activities.

Read more

December 2018 - Can’t Exercise? A Hot Bath May Help Improve Inflammation and Metabolism, Study Suggests

A study led by a Loughborough University PhD student has found hot-water immersion improved inflammation and blood sugar levels in people who are unable to exercise. ‘The acute and chronic effects of hot water immersion on inflammation and metabolism in sedentary, overweight adults’ was led by PhD student Sven Hoekstra, under the guidance of Dr Christof Leicht and Dr Lettie Bishop, of the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS).

The researchers studied markers of inflammation and blood sugar and insulin levels in a group of sedentary, overweight men. Physical stress such as exercise can cause the short-term elevation of inflammatory markers. After exercise, the level of an inflammatory chemical (IL-6) rises. In a process called the ‘inflammatory response’, this activates the release of anti-inflammatory substances to combat unhealthily high levels of inflammation, known as chronic low-grade inflammation.

The researchers took a resting blood sample after the participants had rested in a 27-degree C room for 15 minutes. After the rest period, the participants either remained seated in the room or entered a hot water bath for 60 minutes. In the hot water trial, the volunteers sat immersed up to their neck in 39-degree C water. The research team measured the men’s heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature every 15 minutes throughout both the control and immersion conditions. Blood samples were taken again immediately after and two hours after each session.

The researchers found that a single hot-water immersion session causes the elevation of plasma Il-6 concentration and increased nitric oxide production, but did not change the expression of heat shock protein 72 – another protein suggested to be important for health.

Read more

November 2018 - People in Most Deprived Areas of England Develop Multiple Health Conditions 10 Years Earlier Than Those in Least Deprived

People in the most deprived areas in England can expect to have two or more health conditions at 61 years, which is 10 years earlier than people in the least deprived areas, according to research carried out by the Health Foundation.

The analysis finds that approximately 14.2 million people have two or more conditions, which represents nearly a quarter (24%) of all adults living in England. Over half (55%) of hospital admissions and outpatient visits and three quarters (75%) of primary care prescriptions are for people living with two or more conditions.

The number of people living with multiple conditions is expected to continue to grow. The Health Foundation’s analysis projects that this will lead to an increase in total hospital activity by 14%, at a cost of £4bn, over the next five years. A sustainable NHS will need to improve both the quality and cost effectiveness of care for people with multiple conditions.

The analysis also finds that almost a third (30%) of people with four or more conditions are under 65 and this percentage is higher for people living in socioeconomically deprived areas. This highlights that living with multiple conditions affects a broad range of people and is not always related to old age. Improving care for multiple conditions requires action across the NHS and other sectors, not only in services targeting older people.

Read more

November 2018 - Taking Steps Towards a Happier, Healthier Workforce

Paths for All has launched a new award to celebrate employers who encourage everyday walking in the workplace. The Walk at Work Award is a new accreditation which will recognise employers who are promoting walking and physical activity and offer guidance to those who want their workforce to become more active. Active meetings, lunchtime walks, standing desks and promoting ways to get to work on foot will all count towards the award.

With the average working-age adult sitting for 9.5 hours a day, the Walk at Work award aims to reverse the trend of inactive workplaces and celebrate employers who are getting their staff moving. By signing up for the award, employers will receive one-to-one support on how to create a walking culture at work as well as examples of best practice and where to find extra help and resources.

Recent findings from UK workplaces reveal that half of all employees experience poor mental health at work, including stress, anxiety and depression. Regular walking can reduce the effects of poor mental health, particularly walking in greenspace. Physical activity can also combat against the risk of type 2 diabetes, some cancers and stroke.

Read more

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’.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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%.

Read more

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.

Read more

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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