The importance of doing regular physical activity to health, society and the economy: Time for a major re-think

Dr Mark Tully and Dr Ruth Hunter (QUB): It is estimated that physical inactivity is responsible for 6 –10% of deaths, at a cost to the NHS of £1.06 billion/year and so the potential public health dividend of increasing physical activity in the population is substantial. Recent data for Northern Ireland show that over 60% of adults are not meeting current recommendations. Previous initiatives have had only modest effects, with maintained changes in physical activity behaviour being difficult to achieve. Thus a major re-think in our approach is required. This presentation will highlight the impact of rising levels of physical inactivity to health, society and the economy, and use examples from research in the area. The PARC (Physical Activity and the Rejuvenation of Connswater) Study is a before-and-after natural experiment investigating the impact of a £40m urban regeneration project in east Belfast on physical activity and public health, and the Physical Activity Loyalty Card Scheme which investigates the use of financial incentives to encourage physical activity.

This seminar took place on 6th March 2014.

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