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Physical inactivity costs NHS Wales £35m a year – new research
The NHS in Wales spent £35 million in 2015 treating preventable diseases caused by physical inactivity, according to a new analysis by Public Health Wales.
More than 30 per cent of adults in Wales spend less than half-an-hour a week being active. Adults who are 18 or over need two and a half hours moderate activity during each week, according to current guidelines.
Public Health Wales has produced new visual guides for health boards to help them support staff and patients to be more active, and reduce the cost of treating diseases caused by physical inactivity.
Robert Sage, Principal Health Promotion Practitioner at Public Health Wales, said:
“Being more active can make you feel physically and mentally better, stop you getting ill, and help you to live longer. That is why we have produced guidance for NHS organisations in Wales to help them be more aware of the importance of encouraging and enabling patients and the public to be more active.
“We all need to support those who are inactive to take those first steps towards making being active a normal part of their everyday lives. NHS staff are well placed to raise the issue and pass on simple tips and advice to the public.
“We’re asking all NHS organisations and staff to work together to do all they can to increase activity levels in Wales to help prevent these chronic conditions.”
The new figures are based on the proportion of three common chronic health conditions – Type 2 Diabetes, Coronary Heart Disease, and Cerebrovascular Disease like Stroke – that could be prevented by being more active.
Dai Williams, National Director, Diabetes UK Cymru said:
“90 per cent of the 188,000 individuals living with diabetes in Wales have Type 2 diabetes. A further 57,000 people in Wales are believed to have Type 2 diabetes, but have not yet been diagnosed.
“If poorly managed, Type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications such as amputation, blindness, heart attack and stroke. But unlike Type 1 diabetes, around three in five cases of Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or even prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, eating well and being active.
“We wholeheartedly support the call for NHS organisations to encourage and support people to move more, and make a tangible difference to their long-term health.”
Health professionals can find out more about how they can promote physical activity by visiting the Making Every Contact Count website at www.mecc.wales.
Increasing population levels of physical activity could play a significant part in building a healthier, happier and fairer Wales, as well as contributing towards a lower carbon society, and safer, well-connected communities.
An online resource developed by the NCSEM-EM and Public Health England (PHE) to encourage physical activity in older adults was launched by Sport England’s National Strategic Lead for Health, Sarah Ruane, at the PHE annual conference this September.