New tools to evaluate the impact of physical activity on health

With Local Authorities gearing up for their new responsibilities for health in April 2013, is the contribution that culture and sport services make to the health of the local population recognised?

Not many people realise that physical inactivity leads to almost as many deaths per year as smoking, data published in The Lancet in July 2012 cited the number of deaths per year in England from physical inactivity to be 76,775 compared to deaths from smoking 81,400. This is primarily because so many more people are physically inactive than are smokers, over 80% of the population are physically inactive and only 20% are smokers, smoking is much more harmful to the individual than physical inactivity, but because of the sheer numbers involved the impact of physical inactivity on populations (and on the public purse) is enormous.

Culture and Sport services have often found it difficult to demonstrate their true value and contribution to the wider agenda, fortunately there are some new tools being developed that will help culture and sport services measure their impact in terms that key decision makers can relate to. These include new tools from Sport England, the National Obesity Forum that will be launched soon and a Health Impact of Physical Inactivity tool tool which uses JSNA data to show the  local impact of physical inactivity on all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, breast cancer deaths, colon cancer deaths and diabetes, for each Local Authority in England, launched on 19 March 2013 and available here »