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Active Essex launches strategy to get one million people moving

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Active Essex – part of the County Sports Partnership network – has launched a four-year strategy to tackle issues around inactivity and change one million lives by getting its people moving.

The strategy, which is backed by Essex County Council, Sport England, 12 local councils and the two unitary authorities in Greater Essex, will focus on four main priorities: to drive and sustain participation in physical activity; improve health and wellbeing among specific groups who are inactive; develop people and organisations who work or volunteer in the sector; strengthen local partnerships and networks between all those involved in delivering the plan.

Fourteen local active networks across Essex are all developing individual plans for their areas so collectively the one million target can be met by 2021.

Inactivity costs the NHS in Essex £58m (US$75.3m, €66m) each year and one in five of its residents does not take part in any form of physical activity or sport.

Figures also reveal that seven out of 10 adults in the county are either overweight or obese; only 20 per cent of 15 year olds are active for an hour each day; and 30 per cent of children in Year 6 are overweight or obese.

Levels of inactivity are highest among people on low incomes, women, those with disabilities or life-limiting illnesses and the unemployed.

Azeem Akhtar, Active Essex chair, said: “There are many conditions associated with inactivity such as the increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease and we’ll be working with the residents of Greater Essex and our partners to change one million lives and get Essex active.”

The strategy has been backed by Dr Zoe Williams, a GP and clinical champion for physical activity for Public Health England. She specialises in changing behaviours to help improve health and wellbeing in a range of ages and abilities.

Dr Williams said: “It is wonderful to see Active Essex taking such a positive approach to support communities become more active. I have seen first-hand how individuals’ lives have been transformed by becoming more active and by working together, the benefits can be shared for generations to come.”

Ed Sandham, Sport England’s local County Sports Partnership representative, added: “We work to get more people active across England – regardless of age, background or ability. The strategy that Active Essex has launched is targeted to the needs of people in Essex and it is positive to see the passion and drive to really make a difference and get people active.”

The strategy is available here

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Active Essex – part of the County Sports Partnership network – has launched a four-year strategy to tackle issues around inactivity and change one million lives by getting its people moving.
HAF
(L-R) Jason Fergus of Active Essex, Dr Zoe Williams of Public Health England, Azeem Akhtar of Active Essex and Ed Sandham of Sport England