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“One in five” deaths in South Wales preventable through exercise

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An NHS health board has claimed that up to 20 per cent of deaths in the region it serves could be prevented if people were more physically active.

According to Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMU) – which provides NHS health care in South Wales – physical activity levels in adults and children in the area have plunged “very low”, with only just over half of people getting enough exercise. Worryingly, one in three people lead an almost totally sedentary lifestyle.

ABMU is now taking action in order to encourage the 600,000 people under its care to do more exercise.

It is getting together with other organisations in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend to form ABM Physical Activity Alliance. The new partnership will be tasked with developing a fresh strategy to encourage more exercise among the population.

Sara Hayes, ABMU’s director of public health, said: “Nearly one in five of all deaths in the ABMU area could be prevented if everybody moved enough.

“We were made to be active and being active is a natural and healthy thing to do. The problem is that physical activity levels are far too low and they have not increased for over 10 years.

“Clearly this needs to change and this strategy sets out how we want to build on core values to achieve this.”

Hayes added that some initiatives have already been agreed on – such as scrapping all ‘keep of the grass’ and ‘no ball games’ signs on public land to encourage outdoor play and supporting walking meetings where staff go out for a brisk walk to discuss an issue instead of sitting around a boardroom table.

Other programmes will include creating improved opportunities for walking, cycling, swimming, and playing – as well as promoting coastal paths and green spaces.

“The aim is to get local organisations signed up to a range of promises which support ways for people to be more active,” Hayes added.

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An NHS health board has claimed that up to 20 per cent of deaths in the region it serves could be prevented if people were more physically active.
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