Getting the UK active and healthy - Coventry University Professor provides advice to Parliament

Thursday 08 April 2021

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A panel of experts, including a Coventry University Professor, has submitted evidence to the House of Commons and House of Lords Select Committees to advise the government on how to best promote an active and healthy nation.

David Broom, Professor of Physical Activity, Exercise and Health within the Centre for Sport, Exercise and Life Sciences, formed part of a panel who submitted evidence to the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee on behalf of The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES).

The experts were invited to inform the government’s National Plan for Sport and Recreation, providing recommendations to the House of Lords Select Committee on how to remove barriers to participation and physical activity.

The evidence submitted by the panel addresses prominent issues found in sport and recreation in the UK that include racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny and ableism.

The recommendations will look to influence the government’s strategy and policy for sport and recreation, ultimately helping to improve access to active recreation and sport for people of all ages, backgrounds, genders, ethnicities and abilities.

The panel emphasised the importance of education to instil healthy habits in children and young adults, and advised that schools should increase high quality training of teachers in PE.

They also raised the issue that the educational definition of activity and recreation needs to be remoulded, representing a better balance between contemporary and trending activities like free running and rollerblading with traditional sports, and at the same time highlighting the opportunities to rethink the design of schools’ use of break times and unstructured outdoor play.

The government-imposed lockdown has brought attention to the dangers of inactivity and excessive sitting time due the nations expanding waistline and increasing mental health related issues.

To make a long-term difference and have a positive impact on our population’s activity levels, we need consistency in government policy, sustained funding and a focus on adherence and behaviour change rather than on just ‘taster sessions’. Whole systems approaches are needed to enable this consistency.

If the government wants to continue to save the NHS then it needs to commit to getting the nation moving again.

Professor David Broom, Coventry University Research Centre for Sport, Exercise and Life Sciences

Professor Broom leads the Physical Activity and Health theme within the Physical Activity, Health and Clinical Exercise Physiology, aiming to educate, encourage and support people through impactful research, to be active everyday as a way of life.