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ukactive highlights its credentials to be regulator of national activity strategy

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ukactive CEO David Stalker has outlined his organisation’s credentials to serve as independent watchdog for the national physical activity plan suggested in today’s report from the All-Party Commission on Physical Activity.

The report – launched by a cross-party group of politicians including Tanni Grey-Thompson – sets out clear recommendations to tackle the growing physical inactivity epidemic in the UK.

It calls for a National Plan of Action to tackle declining levels of physical activity, backed by all sectors and political parties.

It also recommends establishing an independent body to have oversight and ensure accountability for the plan and Stalker believes ukactive – which highlighted the extent of the inactivity crisis in a high-profile report – would be a suitable candidate for the role.

"ukactive is uniquely positioned to be able to be a delivery partner and effectively manage the evaluation of a national plan, so of course we're open to discussions," said Stalker in a statement sent to Health Club Management.

Stalker also warned that tackling inactivity must take an all-encompassing approach, adding: "We must be cautious that the youth demographic aren't seen as the main driver in overturning what is a societal problem that really does need to be tackled holistically."

The report highlights a number of statistics demonstrating the extent of the issue, including how physical inactivity leads to around 37,000 premature deaths a year - more than all deaths from murder, suicide and accident combined.

Among the findings are calls for sweeping educational reforms to increase physical activity in schools, as well as a review of transport strategy to make it easier for people to walk and cycle to their destination.

The report – co-authored by Baroness Grey-Thompson, Charlotte Leslie MP, Julian Huppert MP and Barbara Keeley MP – was based on five evidence sessions featuring over 40 organisations and individuals across four key sectors: health, sport, transport and urban planning, plus education.

"The threat that obesity poses to our society cannot be under-estimated," said Grey-Thompson.

"I am delighted that the different sectors who can effect a change in this area have come together to give evidence, and with their guidance I hope that we can raise awareness of the importance of physical activity and start work on helping to eradicate the obesity epidemic."

The report, which is the first of two to be produced by the All-Party Commission, was delivered to the three main political parties and 10 Downing Street by the authors and athletes led by Lord Sebastian Coe this morning, followed by immediate discussions of the findings.

Supporting the report is a coalition of multi-sector organisations, including British Heart Foundation, Lawn Tennis Association, Compass, Sustrans, Nike, Premier League and The Young Foundation.

Martin Gallagher, CEO of Compass, said: "The report rightly points out that physical activity in schools needs to be regular, of good quality and appropriate to the age and abilities of students.

"We've been working tirelessly to champion the effects that regular, quality physical activity has on children and the report demonstrates an encouraging move by the government to create a tangible plan that will see measurable results.

"We'd welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the government on the back of this report to ensure that external sports provision is properly regulated."

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ukactive CEO David Stalker has outlined his organisation’s credentials to serve as independent watchdog for the national physical activity plan suggested in today’s report from the All-Party Commission on Physical Activity.
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