There is already strong evidence that physical inactivity contributes to obesity, high blood pressure and that smoking is a risk factor for illnesses like cancer and heart disease.
Even though a great deal of progress has already been made in the North West to address these challenges, reduce health inequalities and improve life-expectancy there is still a lot to do. London 2012 is a powerful incentive to take this agenda a step further. Linking to existing national initiatives such as Change4Life and NHS Choices provides an opportunity for organisations and individuals to their own health as well as that of their workforce and their communities, and to inspire the next generation in the North West to choose an active and healthy lifestyle.
View the Health and Wellbeing Framework for the 2012 Games.
At a national level, the Department of Health’s Legacy Action Plan (LAP) sets a target of getting two million adults more active by 2012.
The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) recommends that adults should do at least 30 minutes of physical activity at least five times a week and children should do at least one hour of physical activity every day. The NHS in the North West already plays a major role in promoting these aims, as it is widely recognised that this is the only way we will truly transform the lives of people in our region.
Using the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to kick-start our initiatives will increase participation in physical activity up to and beyond the levels recommended by the CMO.
This isn’t just a challenge for the NHS. Many organisations in the North West, from local authorities and voluntary organisations to operators of leisure facilities and transport providers, can play their part in encouraging people in the region to live healthier, more active lives.
The NHS (2012) Challenge has inspired NHS staff around the North West, and all over the country, to set up and take part in sports and physical activity challenges.