Barbara says the Government must do more to promote physical activity to improve the health of people in Salford. Barbara is a member of the Health Select Committee, which has just produced a report on the impact of physical activity and diet on health.

In their Inquiry on this, Barbara and MPs heard from experts that physical activity helped to prevent many chronic conditions including heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer. The report calls on Government to do more to tell people about the considerable health benefits of physical activity.

They also heard from the blogger, Julie Creffield, who Tweets the account Too Fat to Run? Julie Creffield aims to help plus-size women to take up running and helps them to overcome barriers and develop the confidence to take part.

Barbara said:

“Physical activity is really important for our health yet this is not well understood by most people, including GPs. We heard of a GP who told his patient she was too fat to run and it seems GPs do not give their patients the right advice about increasing levels of physical activity.”

“In Salford, 76% of women and 59% of men do not take part in sport or any other fitness activity once a week. The North West has one of the highest levels of inactivity in the UK, with 32% of the population doing less than 30 minutes of physical activity once a week. This has really serious consequences for our health.”

“Our report calls for physical activity to be recognised as a crucial health priority in its own right. We were told that physical activity should be seen as a medicine and that it could have dramatic positive impacts on health. Our report also makes clear that people can be fit even if they are overweight. We need to change policy nationally and to find ways to help people in Salford improve their health through increased levels of physical activity.”

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