Olympics borough Newham is the most inactive in England

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Research has revealed that the borough which hosted the 2012 Olympics is comprised of the most physically inactive people in England.

According to ukactive, a representative of fitness organisations, during 2013, around two in five (39%) people in this area do no exercise at all.

These findings place doubt on whether the organisers’ pledge that it would ‘inspire a generation’ to become active and participate in sport will ever be realised.

Another of the boroughs in London which were supposed to benefit from the Olympics, Barking and Dagenham has the second highest number of inactive residents. The report says that around 38.82% of residents in this area do not do any exercise at all.

The activity level for both boroughs declines between 2012 and 2013.

Newham spent only £216000, or 3.1% of its public health budget for 2013/14 to promote phy7sical activity. This is the lowest amount in London. However, this amount has since been increased to £2.1m or 15.6% of the budget.

Around 29% of people across England are classified as being physically inactive since they do not do 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise once a week. This is twice the level in France and Germany and 20% higher than in the USA.

Inactivity is classified as the fourth largest cause of disability and disease and is directly responsible for one in six deaths in Britain, which places it on the same level as smoking in terms of danger.

The chief executive officer at ukactive, David Stalker, said that in spite of Public Health England and the government’s recent strategies to tackle this lack of activity, it will be an uphill battle to reverse this inactivity trend.

The report was based on the analysis of data collected by Sport England and identifies the variance between activity levels in deprived and well-off sections of England. In affluent Richmond upon Thames in south-west London, the proportion of inactive residents is the lowest at 16.34%. Many of the other best performing areas are also affluent areas. In contrast, many of the 15 areas with the highest inactivity percentages are poor neighbourhoods, such as Sandwell at 36.34%, Tameside in east Manchester at 38.06% and Blackpool at 38.21%.

Sunderland, with an inactivity level of 36.4%, has increased its public health budget for physical activity from £316000 during 2013/14 to £1.849m for this year.

Newham council has criticised the report as being inconsistent and incomplete. It states that it is spending in excess of £20m on programmes and leisure facilities to promote activity. A spokeswoman said that they are committed to delivering the key aims of the 2012 Olympic Games legacy by getting residents involved in physical activity and sport.

Image Credit: George Rex

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