DESPITE my advanced years (I don’t mind revealing I’ll be 72 on my birthday), exercise plays an important part in my daily routine.
Every single day, including weekends, I can be found at the gym going through my routines; I wouldn’t change it for the world.
That’s because I fully understand and appreciate the important role daily exercise plays in our wellbeing; mental as well as physical.
I was prompted to blog about the issue after a recent report found its way onto my desk.
The NHS Digital’s report on obesity in England revealed that a quarter of adults fail to exercise for longer than 30 minutes a week. But it didn’t stop there. It also highlighted Rochdale as having one of the highest rates of inactivity, with almost a third of people not exercising enough.
Read NHS Digital's full obesity report
Obesity is one of the biggest health challenges facing the UK with 61.9% of adults and 28% of children between 2 and 15 classed as overweight or obese.
In 2012 Public Health England published data on excess weight in adults for all local authorities in England. According to the survey, 68.6% of adults in Rochdale are obese or overweight, which is the 7th highest out of all the local authorities in the North West and is higher than the North West and England averages.
And it’s no secret that there’s a clear link between increased body fat and the risk of developing medical conditions including diabetes, cancer, heart and liver disease. Research also indicates that once obesity is reached, it’s difficult to treat, and obese adolescents are more likely to remain so into adulthood.
Another shocking statistic is that the annual cost of dealing with childhood obesity and diabetes is greater than that of the police, fire service and judicial system combined.
That’s why Rochdale borough council places such importance on the health and wellbeing of our population. It’s embedded into our Local Area Agreement as a key objective.
For adults, along with our partners, Link4life, we have developed a tailored exercise programme.
Activ8teme is a low cost, pay-as-you-go programme for adults which has over 50 fitness and sports sessions to choose from each week. It offers 8 sports to choose from in a friendly, fun and sociable environment. Sessions take place in the community and cost just £1.50–£3 per session.
Find out more about the fitness and sports sessions on offer from activ8teme
Tackling child obesity is a priority for us, as well. From September 2018, we'll be introducing a new voluntary healthy rating scheme for primary schools to recognise and encourage their contribution to preventing obesity by helping children to eat better and move more.
We’re also ensuring a wide and varied range of food shops near town centres because it is well known that too many takeaways impacts adversely on residents and encourages unhealthy eating habits.
A Healthy Lifestyles Strategy has been developed together with a Healthy Weight Action Plan which is one of several action plans aimed at supporting healthier living.
Further details about the healthy lifestyles strategy and healthy weight action plan
In addition to the above strategy and action plans, Rochdale borough council offers a number of services to help people lose weight and live a healthier life.
Details about weight loss and healthy lifestyle services are available at health and wellbeing
The building blocks for a healthy and active lifestyle are in place in Rochdale borough; we just need our residents to get on board and take part to move our borough from one of the laziest to one of the most energetic in the country.