Action plan bids to cut physical inactivity by 15%

12 July 2018, 12:29

Family cycling

Ministers have unveiled an action plan to help cut physical inactivity by 15% across Scotland by 2030.

The Scottish Government has set out proposals aimed at getting around 250,000 people more active over the period.

Under the plan, Scotland's network of paths, trails and canal towpaths will be expanded from 6,000 to 8,000km by 2035 to encourage more people to get active outside.

Community sport hubs will be developed in the most deprived areas of the country, while initiatives will encourage more opportunities for sport before school, during lunchtime and after classes.

Signs which deter play outside such as "no ball games" will be discouraged, while outdoor learning will be a focus of the Government's expansion of free early learning and childcare provision.

The Government also wants to encourage social prescribing initiatives, under which NHS patients are referred to community-based programmes to tackle inactivity and obesity.

The 2016 Scottish Health Survey showed 64% of adults met the chief medical officers' guidelines for moderate or vigorous physical activity, a level which has changed little since 2012.

Scotland is one of the first countries to publish a national action plan following the World Health Organisation's global plan on physical activity.

Public health and sport minister Joe FitzPatrick said: "Being physically active is one of the best things we can do for our physical and mental health, whether that's walking or cycling, gardening, going to a gym or playing sport.

"It can also transform communities by helping people connect and come together in shared activities.

"Cutting the level of physical inactivity in Scotland by 15% by 2030 means addressing all of the factors involved.

"This includes relatively large action such as investing in our active travel infrastructure so people can easily walk and cycle, and supporting initiatives such as Health Walks for those who need help to become active, to small acts such as encouraging removal of 'No Ball Games' signs."

Professor Fiona Bull from the World Health Organisation said: "The launch of this delivery plan shows Scotland is out in front, leading on putting policy commitments into concrete actions supported by necessary resources to promote physical activity, for example, doubling the active travel budget from £40 million to £80 million per year.

"We welcome this strongly, and are pleased to support Scotland's Physical Activity Delivery Plan. Regular physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your health. It can contribute to a healthier and more sustainable future for our children."