Getting the Nation Fit and Healthy

11 Sep 15

The nation’s health and fitness is becoming a bigger part of everyone’s consciousness and in the last year there has been in an increase in awareness.  In recent research over half of the population have said that they think being active is important to them.  On Wednesday it was National Fitness Day where many Gyms opened up their doors for free use and a huge number of other activities have been provided to get up off the sofa.

I have always said that getting people active is a really hard thing to do.  If it was easy then Government, Local Authorities and everyone else would have sorted it long ago, and we wouldn’t be talking about an obesity crisis because we wouldn’t be in the same position.  I am not saying that it isn’t important what people eat.  Many people may not know how many calories is in a bag of chips, but most of us know whether we are having too many calories every day.  

As part of the push to get more people active I visited a school near Heathrow Airport.  First of all it was an incredibly early start and the teachers asked pupils to come in half an hour earlier to take part in some activities.  We think about 90% of the school came in early and what was amazing was the energy they showed in being active.  They had a great bunch of people helping them and sorting out games and activities (to be honest for some of the games I had absolutely no idea what the rules were, and I am not sure that the children did either).  But they were running around, having fun and being active.  Where it stops is the older the children get. 

I was against competitive sport being taking out of school.  Exams for maths and English weren’t dropped at the same time were they? But the difference is that there is more emphasis on being taught literacy and numeracy than there is for PE.  

The other thing that has kept me busy this week is Ian Duncan Smith using the word normal when, I hope he meant to say, non-disabled.  I have not always said things in the way that I would have wanted, but I do believe that language is really powerful and that it is important because you can unwittingly contribute to people’s bias by not being clear.  I don’t think that there is any such thing as a normal person, we all have different things that we can and cannot do.  It is word that I have not heard used in a really long time, and I hope I don’t hear it for equally as long