P5. Physical Activity: Inclusion

“We will tackle the barriers to participation in physical activity faced by some of the most inactive groups in society.”

The following provides background and supporting information to help organisations understand what this pledge sets out to achieve and how, by becoming a Responsibility Deal partner, you can help deliver this pledge.

What this pledge is trying to achieve, and why this is important.

This pledge will increase the number of children and adults, amongst those socio-demographic groups most at risk of inactivity, participating in community based sport and physical activity opportunities.

This pledge asks business, voluntary, community and other organisations to tackle any proven or perceived barriers to participation in physical activity through, for example, tailored promotion and delivery of sport and physical activity opportunities.

Evidence shows that people in deprived communities, older people, disabled people, women and certain black and minority ethnic groups are at greater risk of inactivity.

Particpation in physical activity declines significantly with age for both sexes, with only 8% of men and 3% of women over the age of 75 meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s recommendations, Start Active, Stay Active: a report on physical activity from the four home countries’ Chief Medical Officers.  More than 80% of women and girls are not doing enough physical acitivity to benefit their health, and young women are now only half as active as young men. We also know that disabled people are at particular risk of inactivity and that for some, adaptions to equipment or facilities or structured opportunities for physical activity may be necessary to support participation. There are also clear links between levels of physical activity and ethnic group. Inequalities are greatest for South Asian women with only 11% of Bangladeshi and 14% of Pakistani women achieving the recommended levels of activity. Low levels of physical activity are also associated with household income, with the lower income groups more likely to have low activity levels.

The benefits to public health

The health benefits of regular physical activity are significant and well evidenced, as are the health risks of long periods of sedentary behaviour. Regular physical activity also helps reduce the risks of developing long-term/chronic conditions such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis and some cancers.  People who are physically active reduce their of developing stroke and type 2 diabetes by up to 50 per cent and the risk of premature death by up to 30 per cent  For older people, adopting a physically active lifetsyle can significantly enhance mobility and balance, as well as reduce the risk of falling and hip fractures.

The wider benefits of regular physical activity include helping people maintain a healthy weight; contributing to better mental health – helping to combat depression and lead to an improved sense of wellbeing; as well as helping to improve social interaction.

Helping inactive people to undertake low or moderate levels of activity will produce the greatest health benefits and a much reduced risk of developing long-term/chronic conditions.

Promoting physical activity for some of the most inactive groups may also lead to a reduction in health inequalities, particularly in relation to certain BME groups, some of which have worse health than the general population. For example, Pakistani women and Bangladeshi men are more likely than those in the general population to report a limiting longstanding illness or condition. The likelihood of type 2 diabetes is more than five-times as likely among Pakistani women, at least three-times as likely in Bangladeshi and Black Caribbean women, and two-and-a-half times as likely in Indian women compared with women in the general population.

How you can deliver this pledge

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games present a unique opportunity to inspire specific population groups to become more active.

There are a range of ways that organisations can deliver this pledge.

Pledge activities could be as simple as promoting outreach or community-based events locally; highlighting existing sport and physical activity opportunities which are designed to meet the needs of specific groups within the local community (women, older people or black and minority ethnic communities); designing/delivering new opportunities in partnership with local community groups.

Using a social marketing approach, organisations could draw upon their communication channels to reach out to those groups least likely participate in physical activity. Major retailers stock goods which reflect the diversity of their local populations. The same approach can be taken to ensure that provision is tailored to meet the needs of different socio-demographic groups. For example, in areas with a large Muslim population sport and physical activity providers may wish to consider providing women’s only activities at certain times.

You may find it helpful to engage your local County Sports Partnerships who can help with identifying least active populations in particular areas and develop messaging and campaigns accordingly.

Support from Responsibility Deal partners

A wide range of resources and expertise are available to support Responsibility Deal partners in delivering this pledge.  Responsibility Deal partners Sporting Equals, The Women’s Sport & Fitness Foundation, The Ramblers (specifically their Get Walking, Keeping Walking programme), and the English Federation of Disability Sport – Inclusive Fitness Initiative are willing to work with any organisations who are interested in helping groups most at risk of inactivity, to participate in community based sport and physical activity opportunities.  Their websites include resources which you may find helpful.

Your pledge delivery plan

Shortly after signing up, partners will be asked to provide pledge delivery plans, laying out how they intend to meet each of the pledges they have signed up to.  They will have up to 500 words to describe their plans for each pledge they are signed up to.  All delivery plans will be published on this website.

Reporting progress on your pledge

Partners will be asked to report on their progress by the end of April each year.  For some pledges, partners will be asked to report using pre-defined quantitative measures, while for others they will be asked for a narrative update.  Further information on the reporting arrangements for each pledge is available.  All annual updates will be published on this website.

We are currently developing a web-based system that will allow partners to complete their delivery plans and annual updates online from 2013.

Partners signed up to this pledge.

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