With the formation of a new government this month, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has said there “has never been a better time” to voice ukactive’s ‘more people, more active, more often’ message following her appointment as independent chair.
As one of the most successful British athletes ever, Baroness Grey-Thompson will turn her seasoned campaign voice to the alarming issue that surrounds physical inactivity. The baroness’s vital concern is poised on whether the next government turns rhetoric into action on the “inactivity crisis”.
At the heart of government policy moving forwards are the objectives set out by Baroness Grey-Thompson. The objectives are as follows:
- For the government to have created a long-term, cross-department strategy for the establishment of physical activity best practice across all public bodies
- For the existing work of the physical activity sector to be recognised by government as a key driver of health and well-being for the nation
- For the prioritisation of skills and a ‘well-being workforce’ to be recognised and actioned by the relevant government departments
- For physical activity to be a top-tier priority for Public Health England, and for preventative health, led by activity policy, to be a key priority for the Department of Health
- For local authorities and schools to have individual physical activity plans spanning the areas of active travel, leisure provision and active ageing, and to be supported by central government in the development of these strategies but also to be held to account by the government
Language of change
One key element of the campaign for change is the language used when discussing physical activity. Over the past two years, there has been a noticeable shift by the government and agencies such as Sport England when it comes to discussing physical activity as a health outcome in its own right, independent from its impact on weight management.
Baroness Grey-Thompson said, “For too long, physical inactivity in the government’s eyes has been the poor cousin of sport and overshadowed by obesity. The work of ukactive up until this point has thrown into stark relief the fact that inactivity is a killer, and inaction on this issue is no longer an option.”
The baroness is calling on government officials to take note of the objectives, which are said to form the basis of the next five years of campaigning, lobbying and encouraging the government and its executives to ensure that ‘we’ turn good rhetoric into real action.