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Related to: Healthy Weight, Cancer, Hypertension, Coronary Heart Disease, Ill Health and Disability, Natural Environment, Mental Health and Illness, Anxiety and Depression, Asthma, Green Infrastructure and Spaces, Multiple Unhealthy Lifestyle Behaviours, Physical and Mobility Impairments, Play and Play Areas, Wellbeing, Children and Young People, Child Health and Wellbeing Survey , Food Poverty, Active Travel

 Key Facts

  • Between 2012-14, 29.4% of the adult (16 years +) Bath and North East Somerset population were undertaking 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on 3 or more days a week (in sports and activities funded by Sports England), higher than the proportion in the South West (26.5%)* and England (24.7%)*. 1
  • In 2013-14, about 56.3% of adults (16 years +) in B&NES did less than 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week (in sports and activities funded by Sports England), this was a lower proportion than in the South West (63.9%) and England (64.2%) 2
  • Health costs in Bath and North East Somerset due to inactivity comes to about £2.9 million per year. 3
  • Bath and North East Somerset is significantly lower than the national average regarding the percentage of children participating in at least 3 hours per week of high quality PE and sport at school (age 5-18 years)  4
  • 30% of 65-74 year-olds and less than 15% of adults aged 75 and over reported any exercise lasting at least ten minutes during four weeks 5
  • 41% of Voicebox respondents were satisfied with sports and leisure facilities in Bath and North East Somerset. 6

Nationally, less active lifestyles have led to an increase in preventable diseases which are placing increasing pressures on the National Health Service and cost the NHS £8.2 Billion annually. 7

What does the data say?

Adults 

In the UK, physical inactivity directly contributes to one in six deaths 8

Public Health England state that the percentage of adults achieving recommended levels of physical activity has increased in the last fifteen years from 32% to 43% among men, and from 21% to 32% among women. In 2012, 21% of boys and 16% of girls aged 5–15 years met the national physical activity target9

Public Health England provides the following statistics on physical activity:

  • Walking trips decreased by 30% between 1995 and 2013

  • 64% of trips are made by car, 22% are made on foot, and 2% are made by bike

  • 39% of non-disabled adults regularly take part in sport, compared to 18% of disabled adults10

Sports England – Active People 11

Sports England funds organisations and projects that aim to help get more people playing sport and creating opportunities for people to excel at their chosen sport. 12

Through the use of the Active People Survey Sports England monitors and reports on weekly participation in the sports and other physical activities they fund. 

The Active People Survey indicates that in Bath and North East Somerset there has been an increase in the proportion of adults (16 years +) undertaking 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on 3 or more days a week (in sports and activities funded by Sports England), from 27.0% in 2010-12 to 29.4% in 2012-14.

The proportion in B&NES has been higher than in the South West (26.5%)* and England (24.7%)*. *Please note that the SW and England % refer to the year 2013-14, rather than the period 2012-14.

Gender - In terms of the proportion of men and women (16 years +) undertaking 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on 3 or more days a week (in sports and activities funded by Sports England), the rate in 2013-14 was much higher among men than women both in B&NES (Men 27.6%, Women 18.0%) and England (Men 21.4%,Women 14.0%). 13

Ethnicity - Currently there is no local data for Ethnicity, but the England data indicates that in 2013-14 there was a slightly higher proportion of (16 years +) Black and Ethnic Minorities (18.7%) undertaking 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on 3 or more days a week (in sports and activities funded by Sports England), than White British (17.4%). 14

Participation by sport - The 2011-12 Acive People Survey indicated that the most popular ways to be active in B&NES were swimming, followed by cycling, and then the gym. 15

Inactivity - The Active People Survey indicates that in 2013-14, about 56.3% of adults (16 years +) in B&NES did less than 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week in sports and activities funded by Sports England, this was a lower proportion than in the South West (63.9%) and England (64.2%). 

Sports England have said that the health costs in B&NES due to inactivity comes to approximately £2.9 million per year.16

Variation in participation within B&NES -Sport England indicates that Twerton has the lowest adult participation in sport and active recreation (<17.6%) (MSOA 2010) 17

There is significant evidence of health inequalities as the most deprived wards in B&NES (Twerton, Whiteway and Southdown) also have the lowest levels of physical activity and high levels of obesity.

UK Active - Turning the tide of physical inactivity January 201418

In 2013, local authorities inherited the responsibility for improving public health from Primary Care Trusts (PCTs).

This report provides the first detailed analysis of physical inactivity, both at a national and local level. It examines the rate of inactivity in each top tier local authority and analyses its relationship with premature mortality, cost and spend, leisure facilities and green spaces. Key findings were;

  • The average spend by Local Authorities on adult physical inactivity in disproportionally low (spend vs. societal cost)compared to other top tier public health concerns such as sexual health, drug and alcohol misuse and smoking.
  • There is a strong relationship between high levels of inactivity and high numbers of premature adult deaths.
  • The South West region has a higher than average proportion of green spaces and leisure facilities along with lower than average public health spend, adult inactivy and premature deaths with the second lowest % of adults who are physically inactive.
  • B&NES ranks as the 15th best local authority for levels of adult inactivity at 22.91% of the adult population.
  • In B&NES there are 197 leisure facilities per 100,000 population. This is one of the highest rates in the country - as a comparison, South Gloucestershire has 120 per 100,000 and 86 per 100,000 for Oxfordshire.
  • In B&NES, the rate of premature adult deaths is 227.7 per 100,000 population.
  • The cost of inactivity in B&NES is estimated at £15m.

Children and Young People

Unicef’s 2013 rates of physical activity by children in rich countries comparative overview 19

In Unicef’s 2013 rates of physical activity in children in rich countries comparative overview, Unicef compares 29 of the world’s most advanced economies.

According to Unicef’s report in the UK, just over 20% of children aged 11,13 and 15 report at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily activity, and so it has the 10th highest rate in the table. Ireland and the United States are the only countries in which more than 25% of children report exercising for at least an hour a day. Italy is the only country in which fewer than 10% of children report exercising for an hour a day.

It is important to note that one of the limitations of these league tables is that internationally comparable data on children’s lives is not sufficiently timely. Between the collection of data in a wide variety of different settings and their publication in quality-controlled, internationally comparable form, the time-lag is typically two to three years. This means that most of the statistics on child well-being used in this report, though based on the latest available data, apply to the period 2009–2010.

Children and Young People in Bath and North East Somerset

Bath and North East Somerset is significantly lower than the national average regarding the percentage of children participating in at least 3 hours per week of high quality PE and sport at school (age 5-18 years) (54%, nationally 55%, regionally 57%) 20

Older people 21

Research evidence clearly demonstrates that physical activity is critical in old age for the maintenance of physical function, mobility and capacity to tackle activities of daily living.

Activity also has a major protective effect against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, some cancers, cognitive decline, depression and dementia 22 23

Older people are not sufficiently active 24 and often fall well below the levels of physical activity recommended to attain healthy aging 25

Data from the Health Survey for England show that less than 30% of 65-74 year-olds and less than 15% of adults aged 75 and over reported any exercise lasting at least ten minutes during four weeks 26

Data from 240 people in Bristol 27 stressed that both steps per day and time spent in at least moderate physical activity, decline steeply with age. The participants aged 70-75 averaged just over 5,500 steps and nearly 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day while those aged over 85 managed 2,000 steps and five minutes moderate physical activity. Almost all (98.7%) of those over 70 failed to meet the physical activity recommendations for health 28

A common form of physical activity provision for older people is the community or leisure centre-based group exercise programme 29. Adherence to group based programmes can be as high as 84% 30. However, there is little evidence that such rates are achieved in long-term programmes (≥ 1 year) even though this is necessary for sustained health benefit.

Systematic reviews have shown that although interventions produce changes in physical activity at 3 or 6 months, these are often not evident at 12 or 24 months of follow-up 3132

Project OPAL 3334 found that in a sample of 125 males with a mean age of 77.5 years, and 115 females with a mean age of age 78.6 , the number of steps walked per day and the amount of moderate to vigorous activity were significantly lower in participants from more deprived neighbourhoods 35

Age, gender, level of education, physical function and frequency of getting out and about were the most important factors affecting daily activity levels. These results suggest the need for more context-related strategies to help older adults maintain physical function and remain active in their communities

A recent systematic review showed that interventions to promote lifestyle changes are more likely to be effective if they:

  • Target both diet and physical activity
  • Mobilise social support
  • Involve the planned use of established behaviour change techniques
  • Provide a higher frequency or number of contacts
  • Include self-regulatory techniques (ie. use of pedometers, specific goalsetting, providing feedback on progress, relapse prevention techniques)
  • Pay specific attention to supporting behaviour maintenance (self-monitoring of progress, social support, follow-up prompts (eg. By email, telephone) and organising additional sessions to provide feedback,reviewing goals, and using relapse prevention techniques 36 

What does the community say?

For the results of the Child Health and Wellbeing Survey see Child Health and Wellbeing Survey section.

Youth Parliament 2011 discussed how pupils could lead healthier lives, and recommended Healthy theme days in primary schools as an effective measure 37

Short breaks for disabled children scheme carried out a consultation which concluded;

  • Children enjoy engaging in a range of activities
  • Concerns over transport and money was a recurring theme
  • Older children wanted to partake in activities allowing them more independence
  • For activities to be accessible to a wider group of children and young people as well as those with disabilities
  • Quality of staff is the biggest priority for parents, wanting staff capable of building good relationships while providing a safe environment and understanding the needs of individual children
  • Parents in mainstream schools have less knowledge/information about short breaks. What might be in question is whether they would recognise their child as being ‘disabled’ and therefore eligible 38

A survey carried out by the University of Bath (2011) indicates that parents have a significant effect on young people’s physical activity levels.Barriers identified included:

  • Fears of parenting skills being judged, not knowing other parents or workers attending play sessions
  • Cost
  • Lack of awareness of services
  • Parents tended to react badly to the receipt of information that their child was overweight. This appeared to stem from the perception that having an overweight child was equated with being a bad parent. From this survey a number of recommendations were made 39

2013 B&NES community survey

A street survey of 994 people across Bath, Midsomer Norton and Keynsham was carried out in November 2013. Key findings were;

  • The most important factors limiting activity were availability of time (55%), direct costs (40%) and accessible and good quality facilities (26%). All of these factors exceeded national benchmarking in B&NES.
  • Lacking time to excercise due to home pressures was a factor for 22% of the sample, nationally this is only 5%.
  • Although 97% state regular activity is either very important or important, slightly under half state they are not undertaking as much activity as they would like (46%), with women currently less satisfied with the amount of activity they are doing.
  • Current self-reported activity is similar to the national average at 33% stating they participate 5 or more days a week (nationally 35%).
  • For those who do, 43% stated they use a leisure centre or health club, with Bath Sports and Leisure centre being the most popular.
  • The main reason given for wanting to take part in more activity/excercise is to improve or maintain health at 59%, lower than the national benchmark of 64%. The next was to improve/maintain body shape/tone at 22%, higher than the national benchmark of 15%.
  • The majority of the sample does not cycle and do not want to (55%).

Travel to school/work

The top 3 barriers to cycling less than 5 miles are:

(1) Lack of confidence cycling (23%)

(2) Driver behaviour / road safety (20%)

(3) Lack of on road cycle lanes and also no barriers (19%)

The top 3 barriers to walking less than 2 miles are:

(1) Already walk most short journeys/no barriers (63%)

(2) Poor quality of pavement/footpath (10%)

(3) Vehicles parked on footpath/pavement and also no barriers (7%)

4% of Voicebox 19 respondents travel to work by bicycle (34 respondents); 19% walk; 1% cycle for educational purposes including taking their children to school, 35% walk; 15% take part in recreational cycling; 12% of respondents cycle daily 40

There has been a decrease in satisfaction with sports and leisure facilities - Peak 57% satisfaction Voicebox 13 March 07 to current 38% Voicebox 19 May 11

2011 Voicebox Resident's Survey – leisure activities 41 ;

  • 28.3% of men take part in sports at least once a week compared with 17.1% of women and 19.4% of women have never taken part in sports compared with 12.8% of men
  • 64.4% of men compared with 55.9% of women take part in physical leisure activities (walking, cycling swimming) at least once a week or more often

2010 Voicebox Resident's Survey – leisure activities 42

The 2010 local Voicebox Resident's Survey found that:

  • the majority of respondents undertook physical activity 1-2 times 30mins per week or 3-4 times 30mins per week. 
  • 19% undertook less than 30mins of physical activity per week and 24% 5+ times 30mins (the national guidelines), 52% 3+ 30 minutes,
  • 44% of respondents thought they should be exercising 5+ times 30 minutes per week and 40% 3-4 times 30 minutes per week i.e. doing more exercise than they are doing.
  • Awareness and attendance of sports facilities and services was age dependent.50-60 year olds are most aware of and 18-55 year olds are more likely to attend these facilities and services
  • A significantly high number of respondents would like beginner sports classes and running groups available in their local area
  • Cost and time are significant reasons for both male and female respondents for not taking part in more physical exercise
  • Residents least likely to use leisure centres are those on low incomes, the elderly and couples

Are we meeting the needs?

The Bath sports and leisure centre has an estimated catchment of 115,000 people, extending into Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire. It is also estimated that Bath is likely to experience greater than average demand for it's gym and swimming facilities based on it's cachment population. There are currenty 806 fitness suite stations in B&NES, a ratio of 4.4 per 1000 population, which is under-supplied compared to our statistical neighbours 43

While there is a good supply of swimming pools in Bath, a large number are only available for limited community use. The map below shows all sports facilities in B&NES, excluding private school sites.

Click Here to view larger image

KPI data from leisure provider Aquaterra shows that in the first 6 months of 2012/13 15.6% of Baths centre attendances were by over 60's, compared to 26.1% in Keynsham.

41% of respondents are currently satisfied with sports and leisure facilities in Bath and North East Somerset. This has shown no overall variation (2000-2011) with time. 10% fewer respondents were satisfied with sports and leisure facilities in Bath and North East Somerset in June 2011 compared with the latter half of 2009 and the first half of 2010 44

  • 1. Sports England (2015) Sports England Active People 8 (Oct 2013 - Oct 2014) South West - data sheet
  • 2. Sports England (2015) Sports England Active People 8 (Oct 2013 - Oct 2014) South West - data sheet
  • 3. Sport England (2011-12) Active People Survey (downloaded 12/08/13) 
  • 4. Child and Maternal Health Observatory (2012) Child Health Profile Bath and North East Somerset (downloaded 11/04/2012) http://www.chimat.org.uk/resource/view.aspx?RID=101746&REGION=101635 
  • 5. Craig R, Mindell J, Hirani V. (2009) Health Survey for England 2008: Physical activity and fitness, The NHS Information Centre
  • 6. Bath and North East Somerset Council (2008-2011) Voicebox data, in-house analysis
  • 7. Department of Health. (2004). At least five a week: Evidence on the impact of physical activity and its relationship to health
  • 8. Department of Health, Start Active Stay Active (July 2011), p10
  • 9. Public Health England (IDH0063) para 23
  • 10. Public Health England, Everybody Active Every Day – an evidence based approach to physical activity (October 2014), p5
  • 11. Sports England (2015) Sports England Active People 8 (Oct 2013 - Oct 2014) South West - data sheet
  • 12. Sports England (2015) About us, https://www.sportengland.org/about-us/ (viewed 17/03/15)
  • 13. Sport England (2015) Active People Interactive, Active People Survey Data Export, B&NES and England 2005/06 -2013/14 http://activepeople.sportengland.org (downloaded 12/08/13)
  • 14. Sport England (2015) Active People Interactive, Active People Survey Data Export, B&NES and England 2005/06 -2013/14 http://activepeople.sportengland.org (downloaded 12/08/13)
  • 15. Sport England (2011-12) Active People Survey (downloaded 12/08/13)  
  • 16. Sport England (2010-11) Active People Survey (downloaded 09/03/2012) http://www.sportengland.org/research/active_people_survey.aspx 
  • 17. Sport England (2010-11) Active People Survey (downloaded 09/03/2012) http://www.sportengland.org/research/active_people_survey.aspx 
  • 18. http://ukactive.com/downloads/managed/Turning_the_tide_of_inactivity.pdf
  • 19. Unicef Research (2013) Child well-being in rich countries: A comparative overview, http://www.unicef.org.uk/Images/Campaigns/FINAL_RC11-ENG-LORES-fnl2.pdf (downloaded 31/01/14)
  • 20. Child and Maternal Health Observatory (2012) Child Health Profile Bath and North East Somerset (downloaded 11/04/2012) http://www.chimat.org.uk/resource/view.aspx?RID=101746&REGION=101635
  • 21. Stathi. A. & Greaves.C, (Oct 2010) Getting Motivated, Staying Motivated, SportEx, (downloaded 12/09/2012) http://www.sportex.net/
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  • 24. Chodzko-Zajko W, Proctor DN, Singh MAF et al, (2009) Exercise and physical activity for older adults. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise; 41:1510-1530
  • 25. Department of Health. (2004) Choosing Health: Making healthier choices easier
  • 26. Craig R, Mindell J, Hirani V. (2009) Health Survey for England 2008: Physical activity and fitness, The NHS Information Centre
  • 27. Opal, (2007-2010) Project Older People and Active Living, www.bristol.ac.uk/enhs/opal, Bristol University
  • 28. Davis MG (2010) Physical activity patterns assessed by accelerometry in older people, 3rd International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health, Toronto
  • 29. Stathi A. Older people and physical activity. In R. Graham, L. Dugdill & D. Crone (Eds.), (2009) Physical activity and health promotion: Evidencebased approaches to practice 2009:174–197. Wiley-Blackwell
  • 30. Van der Bij AK, Laurant MGH, Wensing M. (2002) Effectiveness of physical activity interventions for older adults. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 22:120–133
  • 31. Foster C, Hillsdon M, Thorogood M. (2005) Interventions for promoting physical activity. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 1
  • 32. Williams N, Hendry M, France B et al. (2007) Effectiveness of exercise referral schemes to promote physical activity in adults: systematic review. British Journal of General Practice 57:(545):979-986
  • 33. Davis MG (2010) Physical activity patterns assessed by accelerometry in older people. 3rd International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health,Toronto
  • 34. Fox KR, Hillsdon M, Sharp D et al (in review). Neighbourhood deprivation and physical activity in UK older adults. Health and Place JHAP-D-10-00105
  • 35. Opal, (2007-2010) Project Older People and Active Living, www.bristol.ac.uk/enhs/opal, Bristol University
  • 36. Lindstrom J, Neumann A, Sheppard K et al. (2010) Take Action To Prevent Diabetes: A toolkit for the prevention of type
  • 37. Bath Spa University (July 2011) Report From Primary And Young Parliaments
  • 38. Bath and North East Somerset Council (2010/11) Short Breaks Consultation – Report of findings
  • 39. Gillison, F. & Whale, K. (2011) “Why don’t families who would benefit use services to promote physical activity and a healthy diet in children?” Report on findings, University of Bath, Bath and North East Somerset Council, NHS B&NES PCT
  • 40. Bath and North East Somerset Council (2011) Voicebox 19 Survey, in-house analysis
  • 41. Bath and North East Somerset Council (2011) Voicebox 20 Survey, in-house analysis
  • 42. Bath and North East Somerset Council (2010) Voicebox 18 Survey, in-house analysis
  • 43. B&NES Leisure Strategy evidence base - in-house analysis
  • 44. Bath and North East Somerset Council (2008-2011) Voicebox data, in-house analysis