Inactive people costs NHS in Essex £58m as project launched to get one million doing sport
PUBLISHED: 16:38 26 June 2017 | UPDATED: 16:38 26 June 2017
Sport chiefs in Essex want to get 60,000 more people active in the county in a bid to save the NHS some of the £58million it spends locally treating inactive people.
Active Essex has launched a new four-year strategy, which aims to get one million people taking part in sport or physical activity by 2021.
An estimated 940,000 people are already “active”.
The ambitious plan has been described as akin to policies 20 years ago to stop people smoking.
Figures revealed as part of the launch show inactivity and health problems caused by it cost the NHS in Essex £58m a year – with seven in ten adults, and three in ten 10-11-year-olds overweight or obese.
The initiative also recognises the importance of sport to the economy – with the sport estimated to contribute £514.7m and 14,510 jobs to the county’s economy.
Azeem Akhtar, chairman of Active Essex, said: “There are many conditions associated with inactivity such as the increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease and we’ll be working with the residents of Essex and our partners to change one million lives and get Essex Active.”
The initiative has four priorities – to drive participation in physical activity, improve health and wellbeing in specific inactive groups, develop people and groups who deliver sport, and strengthen partnerships.
The strategy is backed by Essex County Council, Sport England and the district councils, with individual plans being drawn up for 14 areas of the county.
Dr Zoe Williams, a GP and clinical champion for physical activity for Public Health England, sais: “It is wonderful to see Active Essex taking such a positive approach to support communities become more active.
“I have seen first-hand how individuals’ lives have been transformed by becoming more active and by working together, the benefits can be shared for generations to come.”
Ed Sandham, Sport England’s local representative, added: “We work to get more people active across England – regardless of age, background or ability.
“The strategy that Active Essex has launched is targeted to the needs of people in Essex and it is positive to see the passion and drive to really make a difference and get people active.”
For information about Active Essex visit www.activeessex.org