A drive to try to make Sheffield the most active city in the country starts to get into gear next week.
Civic representatives will discuss ways of creating a culture of physical activity to help people live longer.
Dr Ollie Hart, who is leading the initiative, which aims to tap into a £10m ‘Olympic legacy’ programme, admits it is a big challenge. In particular, attempts have generally failed so far to bridge the health and fitness gap between Sheffield’s prosperous and deprived communities.
But Dr Hart said: “We are serious about developing Sheffield into the most active city in the country by the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, although I suspect other cities will push us hard.”
A successful strategy to step up physical activity could prevent more than 600 premature deaths in Sheffield every year, it is estimated.
Wednesday’s meeting is under the heading Move More, Do Something.
Suggestions will go beyond encouraging people to use leisure centres and gyms, looking at getting fitter in their everyday life, such as walking children to school, cycling to work and gardening. Companies will be encouraged to promote fitness in the workplace.
Efforts will dovetail into Sheffield’s promotion as the ‘outdoor capital of the UK’. “Many of the recent developments in life – the car, lift, escalator, computer – make it increasingly easy to move less,” said Dr Hart, of the Sheffield Health and Wellbeing Board. “Unfortunately by moving less we are causing ourselves huge damage.”
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