Physical activity

The Chief Medical Officer’s report (2011) recommends that adults aged 19-64 years undertake 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week. Physical activity can help reduce the risks of non-communicable or chronic diseases that negatively affect healthy life expectancy. With studies suggesting that inactive people (defined as those participating in less than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per week), spend 38% more days in hospital than active people and visit the doctor almost 6% more often than active people.

The NHS Why be Active web page states that the health benefits of being physically active include:

Key findings for Lancashire-14

Estimates of physical activity levels come from national and local surveys, with the latest nationally published figures, at the time writing, coming from the Sport England Active Lives Survey (2015/16). The survey estimates that two-thirds (65%) of the Lancashire-12 adult population are physically active (i.e. meeting the national guidelines of a minimum of 150 minutes moderate activity per week), in line with the national estimate of 65%.

The survey also looks at physical inactivity and indicates that 22.8% of the Lancashire-12 adult population is inactive, which when applied to the latest Office for National Statistics mid-year population estimates (2016) suggests that 218,961 adults are not meeting the recommend national guidelines. Nationally, 22.3% of the adult of population is believed to be physically inactive.

Four local authorities (Blackpool, Burnley, Pendle and Wyre) are estimated to have both a significantly smaller proportion of physically active adults and a significantly larger proportion of inactive adults when compared to England. Hyndburn has significantly lower levels of physical activity uptake than England, while Blackburn with Darwen, and Rossendale have significantly higher levels of physically inactivity.

It is recommended that children aged 5-18 should be engaging in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day. Figures from the What about YOUth survey (2014/15) indicates that 15.0% of young people aged 15 in Lancashire-12 meet the daily guidelines, in line with the national average (13.9%). In the neighbouring authorities, 14.1% of children in Blackpool and 12.4% in Blackburn with Darwen are estimated to be meeting the recommended levels of physical activity. This indicates that both nationally and locally more work is needed to get children and young people active.

For further information about diet and healthy weight, please see the 'Healthy weight in Lancashire' report on our healthy weight page.

Page updated September 2017