The people of Britain must dramatically increase their physical activity levels – according to Health Secretary Andy Burnham. He set out his vision for a fitter Britain, calling on the NHS to make the promotion of active lifestyles a central part of their work.
Building on the UK’s successful Olympic bid, the Government aims to move the country up the European League table of physical activity. Britain is currently in 21st place.
Andy Burnham says, “We need an ambition for physical activity commensurate with the ambition we’ve already shown in hosting this decade of sport. Just as five years ago, we set ourselves the target of coming fourth in the 2012 Olympic medal tables, now I want us to aspire to fourth place in the physical activity league tables over the next 10 years. This would be an unprecedented achievement, but I believe it is achievable and vital for dealing with the big challenges of our day.”
The Health Secretary has outlined four key areas of change:
- The Department of Health will adopt physical activity, which up until now has been an orphan policy
- A new awakening across the NHS to make active lifestyles an intrinsic part of 21st century health
- A shift in social attitudes, so that physical activity begins to become a clinical need, not just a lifestyle choice
- A change in the way physical activity is provided locally, to make active lifestyles universal
The NHS currently spends approximately £3,000 a minute on combating illnesses that could easily be prevented by physical activity. A 20 per cent increase in cycling, for example, would save the NHS more than £50 million in treatments.
Westfield Health has always encouraged healthy living and has developed a range of benefits to help policyholders maintain their health and fitness levels.
Many of Westfield Health’s cash plans include a health club concession benefit, which provides policyholders with access to special concessionary deals at a range of UK health and fitness clubs.
Most plans also provide access to a GP telephone consultation service, which enables policyholders to speak to a fully qualified GP 24 hours a day, from anywhere in the world. The helpline can offer advice on a range of health issues including exercise and nutrition.