Suffolk: Olympic success can inspire lifestyle transformation

14:10 06 August 2012

Health campaigners hope Great Britain

Health campaigners hope Great Britain's Olympic success can inspire change

BRITAIN’S unprecedented Olympic achievement has been heralded as a golden opportunity to inspire a sporting legacy in Suffolk and finally break the burgeoning obesity crisis.

Rousing displays of athletic excellence from some of the country’s most dedicated sportsmen and women could bring about a behavioural change capable of cracking the epidemic of inactivity that experts say is shortening lives and draining the health service of resources and money.

Last week, the EADT revealed that nearly a quarter of Suffolk adults are now classed as obese and at risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Meanwhile, recent figures issued by NHS North Essex showed the number of obesity-related admissions to hospital had increased by 71%, from 218 in 2009-10 to 373 in 2011-12.

But Team GB’s successes are now being seen as a critical catalyst for motivating a widespread change in attitudes towards health and fitness.

Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, who helped fund his own medical studies by offering personal fitness training and health advice, said: “We have some world-beating athletes who should, in the short term, inspire people to engage in exercise.

“As a doctor, I know that prevention is better than cure - if people to lead healthy lifestyles, they are less likely to become unwell and more likely to live a long and healthy life.

“Some of that inspiration will inevitably fade and, in the longer term, we need to make sure we continue to tackle the problem of obesity, smoking and misuse of alcohol - particularly in young people.

“Education has to come early and we can really build on the inspiration of strong positive role models. But we must also work with food companies to reduce the amount of fat in products and get them realising that it is the right thing to do.

“We have an opportunity to make a real difference, to inspire a generation and improve lives.”

An ambitious health drive is already under way in the county, targeting 16,000 people who do little or no exercise. Backed by EADT, the campaign involves Suffolk County Council, NHS Suffolk and Healthy Ambitions Suffolk - all now hoping to take advantage of an expected surge in enthusiasm for grassroots sports following the Olympics.

Peter Funnell, executive director of Healthy Ambitions Suffolk, said: “This is a complex issue that doesn’t lend itself to easy solutions. “Success at the highest level obviously acts as a stimulus for people to participate and engage in greater levels of activity. The key is to encourage and facilitate that demand.

“We’re not all going to be Olympic stars - but even small lifestyle choices can help people realise their potential. Everyone has a responsibility to take care of their health, for themselves, their families and, to some extent, their communities.

“We need to ensure that generations of people don’t suffer preventable diseases that shorten lives and makes the years of living less rewarding. It’s in everyone’s interest, and the stories of athletes reaching the highest level through commitment and dedication can pay off with significant benefits.

The Department of Health suggests the average adult should aim to be active daily, completing at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity over a week and minimising the amount of time spent being sedentary for extended periods.

The potential health benefits of regular exercise include reducing the risk of diseases like coronary heart disease, stroke and type two diabetes.

Department figures last week showed that one in five adults smoke and around 17.5% of Year Six children are classed as obese, according to the body mass index (BMI) - calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of his/her height in metres.

Numerous initiatives have been launched since the announcement that London would host the Olympics. Last month, seven sporting organisations in Suffolk shared more than a third of a million pounds of Olympic legacy funding, including Bury Spectrum Gymnastics Club, Orford Sailing Club and Beccles Rugby Club.

In Essex, 11 projects will benefit from £500,000 of investment, including Frinton Lawn Tennis Club and the David Smith Memorial Hall and Recreational Charity in Chelmsford.

Meanwhile Live Well Suffolk, the county’s healthy lifestyle service, is aiming to build on the triumphs of the Olympic team by offering free one-to-one programmes to those wanting to get more active, as well as a range of exercise courses such as zumba, aerobics and spinning.

Related articles

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

RAF Tornadoes successfully destroyed a heavy weapons post and vehicle with a mounted machinegun in support of Kurdish troops.

Read more

George Osborne has reached his target weight on the 5:2 diet. Now, about the economy…

Read more

Stinky Candles are becoming surprisingly popular

Read more

Promotions

AGA Living Subscription

Every issue of AGA Living magazine is packed full of celebrity AGA owner interviews, interior and design features, ideas to inspire your culinary imagination, mouth-watering recipes and inspirational shopping ideas.

Dojo gives you hand picked recommendations for events, places and activities in London

Tired of always hearing about some amazing event in London after its gone, missing out on the best activities? That’s where Dojo comes in.

Advanced running and training technology for beginners up to elite athletes

If you’re thinking of adding running treadmill to your fitness routine, you’re on the right track! There are several advantages to running on a treadmill versus running outdoors.

RAF Tornadoes successfully destroyed a heavy weapons post and vehicle with a mounted machinegun in support of Kurdish troops.

George Osborne has reached his target weight on the 5:2 diet. Now, about the economy…

BoJo uses a brick to make a point as he holds his prop aloft at the Conservative Party Conference.

The news surrounding Minecraft of late has revolved around the company’s purchase by Microsoft. Until now.

TOP Stories

46 minutes ago
DJ Neil Fox has been arrested over alleged historical sex offences against two women  (Photo by Neil P. Mockford/Getty Images)

The Magic Radio presenter Neil Fox has been taken off the air after being arrested over alleged historical sex offences against two women.

Professor Gennadij Raivich was given a suspended sentence for sexually assaulting a woman who came to him looking for a sperm donor (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

An ex-professor at UCL who operated a private sperm bank and fathered more than 50 children has avoided jail despite being convicted of sexually assaulting a woman who came to him looking for a donor.

16:02
Londoners love free wifi (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

How much do you love free WiFi? Would you give up your eldest child for it? Of course not right? Well that’s exactly what 6 Londoners unwittingly did after being caught out by a security firm.

London Bloggers

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
The cast, including Josie Lawrence and Mike Myers

Simon Collins catches up with the improv impresarios, who despite being the world’s longest-running comedy show with the same cast, have lost none of the razor-sharp wit:

Monday, September 1, 2014
Do you really need an explanation for that?! (Pic by Serena Marinelli)

If you’ve ever seen an Italian movie, you would probably know how important body language is in the culture.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Don't waste any of your harvest

If you are now inundated with ripe tomatoes, juicy green beans, berries and herbs, don’t leave them to go stringy or mouldy because the freezer can go a long way to making your crops last well into winter.