Why is it an issue?
Whatever our age, there is good scientific evidence that being physically active can help us lead a healthier and happier life. We also know that inactivity is a silent killer.
The evidence suggests that increasing activity levels will help prevent and manage over 20 conditions and diseases including cancer, coronary heart disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help to promote metal wellbeing and can help ease stress, anxiety, and depression.
Regular physical activity helps with weight management, there appears to be a strong positive link between people who can and do engage in moderate exercise and lower levels of obesity. Vigorous exercise is associated with a further improvement in obesity levels (Lifestyle Survey – Obesity & Diet Analysis, 2009).
The primary and secondary care costs attributable to physical inactivity in Wakefield have been calculated to be £9,487,980 for the year 2006/7 This has been broken down further to £2,848.354 total cost /100,000 population (Be Active Be Healthy, 2009).
What’s the local picture and how do we compare?
How do we compare?
What do things look like locally?
- At a local level, the Active Peoples Survey identifies, that less than a quarter of Wakefield’s population are achieving the measure of 3 x 30 minutes of activity.
- Physical activity levels are on a par with the national average; however this appears to be mainly activity such as walking.
- Some residents are limited in their capabilities to undertake moderate or physical exercise. However, focusing on those who are not limited, there appears to be a strong positive link between people who can and do engage in moderate exercise and lower levels of obesity. Vigorous exercise is associated with a further improvement in obesity level (Lifestyle Survey – Obesity & Diet Analysis, 2009).
- Able2 club at Featherstone Sports Centre is run by a voluntary organisation where young people attend sessions, Basketball, wheel chair rugby swimming boccia and new age curling, holiday schemes run by Youth Sport Team also make provision for young people with disabilities and have specific sessions at some venues as well.
Children & Young People
- 2008 figures suggest that 91.9% of Wakefield’s children take 2 hours of high quality sport or PE compared to 90% nationally. This compares well with England’s worst local authority where only 77.5% of children are physically active (Yorkshire & Humber Health Profiles, 2009).
- According to the DCSF School Sport Survey 2007-08, 92% of Wakefield pupils were participating in at least two hours of high quality PE and out of hours school activity in a typical week, which was above both the average of their statistical neighbours (89.3%) and England (90%). Also, between half and two thirds of primary age children participated in at least 3 hours of high quality PE or school sport in a typical week. As children get older, the figure for Key Stage 3 falls back to just over 50%, falls again to 40% in Key Stage 4, falling again to just over 30% of Key Stage 5 pupils (CJSNA, 2010).
- The Health Related Behaviour Questionnaire involving Children & Young People in Wakefield found that approximately 40% of year 6, Year 8 and Year 10 males exercised enough to make themselves breath harder and faster five times per week. This figure was fairly consistent across the Year groups, with slightly more in Year 6 than in Years 8 and 10. Up to 16% of the Year 10 males in the various high schools stated that they did not find it easy to be as physically active as they would like (CJSNA, 2010).
- Whilst 35% of Year 6 females stated they did the equivalent amount of exercise, this figure dropped to 28% in Year 8 and then to 15% in Year 10. Up to 20% of the Year 10 females in the various high schools stated that they did not find it easy to be as physically active as they would like (CJSNA, 2010).
Active Travel & Commuting
- Secondary school pupils do use public transport at a far higher rate than others in the region, which will mean that they will be more active than if using cars to get to school (CYPJSNA, 2010).
- 2010 saw a 1.5% reduction of cars on the school run compared to 2009 figures. The census data also shows that there has been a year on year increase in the number of children walking to school. (Annual school census)
- The school Travel Team continues to work with all schools across the district aiming to reduce congestion and improve safety around school sites – whilst promoting sustainable healthy travel. The Travel Team has worked closely with CFL / PCT / Health Improvement Practitioner Specialist – Accidents, to develop schemes of work and events targeting areas in the district that have high levels of health problems / accidents, etc. These have included the Walking Bus scheme in partnership with Cineworld, in primary schools and also the BIKEFEST events in Secondary establishments.
- Independent Travel Training is focussed on working with pupils with special educational needs or learning difficulties to date over 300 young people have taken part in this training. Between April 2009 and March 2010, 1,659 Primary school pupils received cycle training (bikeability Level 1-3) and 900 Primary school pupils received Pedestrian skills training in years 3 and 4.
- Access to private vehicles is lower than the national and regional levels. However a much higher proportion of residents travel to work by car (68.1%) this level is the highest in W Yorks and above regional and national rates. More than two fifths of residents and workers live less than 2km from their workplace (28,500) people commute less than 2km and over 48% use a car to travel this distance. (2001 census data).
- Wakefield district has the lowest level of public transport patronage in West Yorkshire, with just 11.5% commuting to work by bus or train. Around 1.4% of Wakefield residents travel to work by bicycle and 10.8% of residents walk to work. Cycle to work rates are lower than regional and national averages, however the District has a higher proportion of residents commuting to work by bike than neighbouring West Yorkshire Districts. Walk to work rates are in line with the national average. (2001 census).
What’s the trend and what can we predict?
- Wakefield’s children & young people use of cars to get to and from school has decreased since 2006/07 with a consequential increase in either cycling or walking to school (CYPJSNA, 2010).
- Walk to school levels in Wakefield are rising year on year and we would expect this trend to continue.
- The London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics are expected to create an increased interest in Olympic sports which should have a positive impact on physical activity levels in Wakefield.
- A new leisure centre (Sun Lane) is due to open in Wakefield during 2012 which may result in increased gym memberships and physical activity levels.
What are we doing and what can be done differently?
- Activators: Health and wellbeing activators are community based instructors that deliver locally to hard to reach groups in three of the priority areas within the district. They work with local individuals and groups to deliver what the local community request. Examples include: Havercroft mums fitness class while children are in the crèche and the Nordic walking programme in Kinsley as a progression from the health walk.
- Exercise on Recommendation: Activators deliver the scheme commissioned through WDPCT working with individuals who have health conditions across the district to help them improve their health through physical activity. During 2010/11 438 people have taken part in the scheme.
- Zumba: Sport and active lifestyles have reacted to the need for Zumba by investing in training for instructors and setting up sessions within local facilities across the district. From Jan – Sept 2011 over 10,000 people took part.
- Joints, Muscle and Mobility sessions are gentle water based exercise classes intended to provide individuals with conditioning and stability. In part this project provides a falls prevention scheme. Six regular sessions are already being delivered and more are planned for the future. Between Jan and Sept 2011 4,992 people took part in these sessions.
- The year 2010/11 saw more than 1,006 ‘Health Walks’ take place in the Wakefield District, an increase of 190 (23%) on the previous year.
- Three new health walks were established in priority neighbourhoods. An average of 14 people attended each walk compared with 12 people in the previous year. 45 new walk leaders were trained, making a total of 209 people trained since the start of the programme.
- The number of health walk sessions attended increased by 30% from 10,595 to 13,779.