Director's welcome from Jim McManus
Welcome to this one-off special edition of Public Health eNews. It is dedicated to the ‘It’s Never Too Late to be Active’ campaign, which aims to encourage older adults to be more active.
Physical inactivity costs the health economy more than £16m per year (excluding costs related to obesity and mental health conditions). It is the fourth greatest cause of death and disability, causing 1 in 6 deaths in the UK.
Yet one in four Hertfordshire residents does less than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, and many more are not meeting national guidelines of 150 minutes a week.
- 41.7% of 55-64 year olds and 57.8% of 65+ year olds do less than 150 minutes
- 24.9% of 55-64 year olds and 42% of 65+ year olds are completely inactive
There is clear and compelling evidence that an active lifestyle improves health, promotes mental wellbeing, improves quality of life, and helps promote independence.
It is vital in the prevention and management of a range of long-term conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, dementia, diabetes and depression, that can all lead to avoidable disability and/or early death.
Increasing the number of people who are physically active can reduce deaths from inactivity, support people to live a longer life with more disease-free years and increase self-management of long-term conditions which can reduce the need to be admitted to hospital.
Hertfordshire County Council is therefore working with organisations across the county to launch ‘It’s Never Too Late to be Active’, a social marketing behaviour change campaign that uses evidence-based techniques, insight and motivational messaging to inspire inactive and low activity older people to become more active.
It’s part of Hertfordshire’s Year of Physical Activity (#HertsYOPA18) and runs for 12 weeks from 23 April 2018.
All residents registering with the campaign receive a free local activity pass for themselves and a friend, which will entitle them to a free taster of some of the vast range of enjoyable activities and classes provided by our district councils and leisure centres across the county.
They can also get personalised support to help them become more active and enter a prize draw for an iPad, Fitbit or £100 clothing voucher.
The primary call to action is to encourage residents to sign up via the website www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/nevertoolate or by calling HertsHelp on 0300 123 4044. They can also drop in to their local library for help to sign up.
The possibilities for older people to be more healthy and active in Hertfordshire are endless - chair exercises or gardening at home, local health walks for all levels, community activities, swimming, cycling, enjoying our local parks with family and friends, over 50s classes, dance groups, bowls clubs or even just a walk to the local shops...the list goes on!
Please encourage communities you are in touch with, family, friends, neighbours and colleagues to get involved.
Your support is vital in helping us reach those who need a little extra encouragement to become more active.
It's Never Too Late to be Active, let's make Hertfordshire the most active county!
The social media hashtag is #NeverTooLateHerts.
Find out what you can do to support the campaign here.
You can find a range of publicity materials to help promote the campaign in the communications toolkit here.
Read the campaign briefing here.
If you would like to get in touch with us about the campaign, please contact the editor.
Thank you for your support!
Director of Public Health, Hertfordshire