East Cambs Council launches bid to promote healthy living and stop decline of sport participation

A BLUEPRINT to halt the decline in people taking part in sport and to encourage them to lead a healthier lifestyle has been drawn up by East Cambs District Council.

The council is to refocus on youth sport and youth engagement projects will be set up in Littleport and Soham, two areas identified as having the highest level of deprivation.

Alistair McKie, the council’s sport and health development officer, says the plan is to target hard to reach groups including older people, the disabled, young people engaged in crime and low level crime and residents who suffer from specific health issues such as obesity.

He said: “This plan will review and support the sustainability and development of sport, health and physical activity development services in East Cambridgeshire.

“In deprived areas of East Cambridgeshire there is a higher prevalence of obesity among adult males and Year 6 children. In addition, life expectancy of males is 4.5 per cent lower in deprived areas of East Cambridgeshire.”

Earlier this year, the district was named as having the best quality of life of any rural area of the UK.

But despite nine out of 10 people reporting general good health, the council says there is still a reduction in sporting activity.

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The Sport, Health and Physical Activity Delivery Plan for 2012-13 aims to turn things around.

As part of the plan, the council will:

• Provide school sport programme in at least 10 locations in the summer holidays

• Deliver the youth games at Littleport Leisure Centre on June 29

• Deliver the Paralympics lantern flame event at Jubilee Gardens in Ely on August 25.

• Introduce and pilot an active work places programme at Cambridgeshire Business Park in Ely

• Organise a diabetes awareness event with partners by March 2013

• Apply for a minimum of �5,000 Sportive funding, to provide additional provision for people aged 14-25

• Engage 50 girls and young women aged 14-25 into physical activity by March 2013

• Pilot two 10-week falls prevention and bone sessions

• Deliver a summer holiday programme with at least 600 participants

The health of people in East Cambridgeshire is generally better than the England average. Life expectancy is higher than average.

Life expectancy is 4.5 years lower for men in the most deprived areas of the district compared to the least deprived area.

About 17.3 per cent of Year 6 children are classified as obese; a lower than average pupils spend at least three hours each week on school sport.

An estimated 19.3 per cent of adults smoke and 23 per cent are obese.