HEALTH: On the brink of obesity crisis

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The news that only two out of 53 European countries are more overweight than Britain is a wake-up call screaming at us to find more achievable ways to move more.

It can be difficult to keep active, especially for those with office jobs, but inactivity is making people unhealthy and unhappy.

Even a short, brisk walk can have fantastic mental and physical health benefits, helping to prevent long-term chronic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and depression.

Direct NHS savings from an increase in urban walking and cycling have been estimated at £17billion over 20 years.

What’s more, it is incredibly easy to fit into a day – on the commute, the school run, or a trip to the shops.

This isn’t just about improving our current situation; it’s about safeguarding the future of our children.

One in five boys and one in six girls of primary school-age are classed as physically inactive, and one in three children leaves primary school either overweight or obese.

Swapping the school run for a school walk helps build more exercise into a child’s day and ensures they develop healthy habits for life.

Earlier this year, Public Health England had to add a ‘severely obese’ category to its measurements of children aged four and five, and children aged 10 and 11.

This should be enough to tell us that inaction can’t continue.

Tanya Braun

Head of Policy and

Communications

Living Streets