Campaign aims to make the English more active

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 30 March 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:799
  1. Daphne Gloag

    The Health Education Authority has launched a national physical activity campaign in England to try to improve the nation's health. The campaign, Active for Life, advocates regular, moderate activity and promotes the idea that any activity is better than none.

    The pounds sterling9m campaign, which will run over three years, reflects the results of recent American research suggesting that cardiovascular benefits come not only from vigorous exercise but also from moderate activity such as brisk walking and cycling—which also prevents or helps becoming overweight and other problems. This exercise should be taken for half an hour three times a week.

    A quarter of the population, according to a Health Education Authority survey that will be repeated, have no physical activity that could benefit health and many (60% of men and 70% of women) have insufficient activity—even though most people believe that exercise would be good for them.

    The campaign suggests realistic activities: walking or cycling at least part of the way to work or school, for example; dancing; and walking upstairs instead of taking a lift. “We want to help people to lead a more active life—not to tell them to take more exercise,” said Nick Cavill, the Health Education Authority's physical activity manager.—DAPHNE GLOAG, freelance journalist, London

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