Tackling inequalities - creating an active society

Thursday 9th May 11:55 - 12:45

We live in a nation which has rising levels of obesity, mental illness, age related conditions, and an ageing and diversifying population, often living with multiple long term conditions – where huge health inequalities exist. There is a response that we can all make and that is to increase our physical activity. Everybody active, Everyday as Public Health England’s strategy outlined.

The World Health Organisation is seeking to reduce the global prevalence of inactivity by 15% by 2030. WHO estimates that more than one quarter of the population isn’t getting enough physical activity. High income countries like the UK are among the least active – with inactivity levels in 2016 were 36% overall - 32% of men and 40% of women.

As we lead increasingly sedentary lives a population scale transformation is required.

To achieve this change inequalities in opportunities to be active must be addressed - we know that the inactive are more likely to be women, older, unemployed, less educated or those living in area where the population is predominantly from a lower socioeconomic group.

Prevention cannot be solved by the health and social care system alone – a whole systems approach is required. This not only means connecting local services and organisations to influence physical and social environments - everyone has a part to play in activating the nation – but moreover considering the intended and unintended consequences of our actions and seeking out leverage points that will transform the way the system works further down track.

But how can we make population scale change? - creating active communities, active citizens, active environments and active systems – is a systems approach the silver bullet?

A systems approach sees a long term vision creating better connections, co-ordination and collaboration between those responsible for transport, public spaces, health and social care, education to remove barriers and improve inclusivity – to create happy, healthy and active citizens.

Sport England have invested £100 million in 12 Local Delivery Pilots to explore these very issues – and address stubborn inequalities and break down barriers to people getting active.

This session will explore how we can move beyond aspirations to ensure practical steps are taken to activate the whole of society.

Professor Robert Copeland, Professor of Physical Activity and Health at Centre for Sport & Exercise Science, Sheffield Hallam University

Conf - day 2 - Tackling inequalities - creating an active society

Rob is Professor of Physical Activity and Health at Sheffield Hallam University and a Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist with the British Psychological Society. He moved to Sheffield in 1998 to undertake a Masters Degree at Sheffield University and has fallen in love with the city ever since. Rob completed his PhD in psychology at Sheffield Hallam University in 2006 and continues to be fascinated by how to change behaviour at an individual and population level.

Rob is the Director of 'The National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine' (NCSEM) in Sheffield, a London 2012 Olympic legacy programme, which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of the nation through sport, exercise and physical activity. One of the projects of the NCSEM is ‘Move More’ (www.movemoresheffield.com/about), which represents the city’s ambitious plan to transform Sheffield into the most active city in the UK through a whole systems approach.

Rob has significant research, consultancy and service evaluation experience in clinical and non-clinical populations and has presented and published nationally and internationally on physical activity and obesity related areas. Rob is a member of a number of national academic advisory boards and regularly reviews for international peer review journals and research submissions.

In other areas, Rob has worked as a psychologist within a wide range of professional sports including cycling, golf, football, tennis and snooker. Rob has also worked with chief executives and senior manager's applying sports psychology techniques to a business environment to improve performance under pressure.

Hayley Lever at GM Moving

Karen Creavin, Chief Executive at The Active Wellbeing Society

Dr Mike Brannan, National Lead for Physical Activity at Public Health England

Chris Perks, Executive Director Local Delivery at Sport England