‘More to do’ in city’s fitness fight

editorial image

City leaders have admitted Sheffield has ‘more to do’ to achieve its ambition of becoming the country’s fittest city - after figures revealed more than half of residents are still not exercising enough.

The statistics, from Sport England’s annual Active People survey, showed that just over 40 per cent of people in Sheffield aged over 16 were participating in sport for at least 30 minutes, once a week.

Coun Isobel Bowler, the city council’s cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, said Sheffield had the highest score in Yorkshire, and was among the top 20 in England.

But she added: “Sheffield – like every other city – has more to do. There are still many people who are not active enough and need to move more to protect and improve their health.

“We will continue to work with city agencies and local groups to build on our success and to further increase physical activity levels.”

Last year’s results came in at 43 per cent - meaning there was a dip from 2012-13 in percentage terms, but as more people took part in the survey Sport England recorded an increase.

Coun Bowler added: “The improvement results from us supporting activities at three levels – citywide measures such as our parks, footpath improvements and investment in cycling, investment in our leisure facilities, and targeted programmes where the council and NHS are working with our least active groups.

“Over and above this, the improvement is testament to the many volunteers who run sports and activity clubs throughout the city.”

Heeley-based GP Dr Ollie Hart, who is leading the city’s Move More project, said: “Sport England surveys do tend to wax and wane, and depend on what is measured and how.

“The last report was very positive for Sheffield’s improvement in physical activity over the last eight years.”

He said plans to site health clinics next to leisure centres were ‘progressing well’, and that a full-time Move More officer had joined the council’s public health team.

Efforts are also being made to make sure the project’s aims are considered when planning new buildings and schemes.

“No major project - building, strategy, service delivery - will be awarded without consideration of how it can support the Move More culture change,” Dr Hart said.