A new health campaign aims to get Leeds moving, cut rising obesity levels and close a 10 year life expectancy gap between the city’s healthiest and unhealthiest areas.
Figures from Public Health England have previously shown that one in five adults in the city are unhealthily overweight, with women slightly more likely to be obese than men.
The YEP also reported recently that almost one in four children finishing primary school in Leeds were classified as obese, and on average 38 per cent of youngsters in Leeds were unhealthily overweight when they start secondary school.
There has also been a rise in overall adult obesity levels in Leeds in recent years, and the annual estimated cost to the local NHS of illness linked to obesity is £204M.
However the numbers of people doing regular exercise are worryingly low, health experts say.
Research also shows that the value of improved quality and length of life plus health care costs avoided due to participation in sport would dwarf that at £329m.
Leeds City Council’s cross-party scrutiny panel for culture and sport has launched its own inquiry into the health of the city and the importance of enabling and encouraging people to get a little more active.
A report being presented to the panel at a meeting today says the city has a “long term ambition...to deliver a better, more holistic systems approach to physical inactivity that will evoke a cultural change in which being physically active does become the norm” as well closing the health inequality gap.
“Physical activity can be an important part of the solution to addressing health inequalities, that ultimately sees gaps in life expectancy in different parts of the city of more than 10 years,” the report says.
It adds that getting more active can also “help to reduce risk taking behaviour, crime and anti-social behaviour”.
The inquiry is also evaluating the importance of the sport and fitness activity sector to the city’s economy, with research suggesting it is worth £244m.