The Central Council of Physical Recreation
Sport and physical recreation has a key role
to play in the delivery of public health policy. Regular physical
activity improves general physical and mental health, and is a
preventative measure against illnesses such as heart disease and
osteoporosis. In particular the CCPR recommends:
The appointment of a joint special
advisor between DCMS and DOH to ensure better policy co-ordination.
Government support for the widest
range of sport and recreational activities.
Recognition of the role of sport
and recreation in delivering community health initiatives.
A minimum of two hours quality physical
education within the curriculum per week.
Adequate provision of swimming tuition
in schools to prevent accidental deaths from drowning.
Increased opportunities for physical
activity in sports clubs and local authority leisure centres for
people over 60.
1.1 The Central Council of Physical Recreation
(CCPR), as the national association for the governing bodies of
sport and recreation, is pleased to respond to the Health Select
Committee Inquiry into Public Health.
1.2 The Government's Public Health White
Paper, Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation, published in July 1999
signalled an intent to introduce a stronger preventative element
into the delivery of healthcare. The White Paper argued that in
future the NHS "will be geared not just to the treatment
of illness but to the prevention and early detection of ill-health".
1.3 Sport and recreation has an important
role to play in the delivery of any public health agenda. Whether
it is playing for your local sports club or attending a dance
class, regular physical activity improves general physical and
mental health, and is a preventative measure against diseases
such as coronary heart disease and osteoporosis. People who do
not meet the Government's recommended guidelines on adult physical
activity30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a weekare
twice as likely to suffer from coronary heart disease and three
times more likely to have a stroke.
2. THE EVIDENCE
2.1 Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation,
sets a target of reducing deaths from heart disease by 40 per
cent by 2010, and mental health problems by 20 per cent. It is
of concern that the majority of adults do not meet minimum recommended
guidelines on physical activity.
2.2 The effect that unhealthy lifestyles
could have on children's health was highlighted in a speech by
Public Health Minister Yvette Cooper MP on 19 October 2000.
"Although for most people health is improving,
health experts now have serious concerns that a lack of exercise
and poor diets among children and young people could have damaging
health effects in later life. In fact, if current trends continue,
there is a risk that the increase in life expectancy that we have
seen in recent years could be lost for some of the next generation".
2.3 The detailed results of the Government's
1998 Annual Health Survey shows that only 25 per cent of women
and 37 per cent of men met the minimum recommended guidelines
on exercise. In particular the evidence illustrates a decline
in physical activity with age, showing that measures are needed
to promote physical activity in later life. (For full details
see Appendix 1). Worryingly the same survey found that 28 per
cent of both adult men and women suffered from a form of cardiovascular
2.4 Figures from the 1996 General Household
Survey show a decline in physical activity rates among the lower
social bands. This mirrors evidence on health inequalities, with
for example the death rate from coronary heart disease three times
higher among unskilled men than professionals. Lack of exercise
is one of a number of contributory factors to this trend. (For
full details see Appendix 1).
2.5 The British Heart Foundation report
published in June 2000, Couch Kidsthe Growing Epidemic,
warned that our youngsters are becoming a generation of "couch
potatoes". 33 per cent of boys and 38 per cent of girls aged
two-seven do not meet current recommended guidelines on physical
activity for youngsters of an hours moderate exercise per day.
At the same time children are spending more of their spare time
involved in sedentary activity, such as watching TV and playing
computer games. Children aged two-seven spent an average of ten
hours per week in sedentary activity, rising to 17 hours for 13-15
year olds. Levels of obesity are also rising, with 20 per cent
of four year olds overweight and eight per cent obese.
3. POLICY: BETTER
3.1 Saving Lives: Our Healthier Nation
provides for a three way partnership between Government, communities
and individuals. We believe that sport and recreation can play
an integral part in delivering this approach at all levels.
3.2 In order to ensure better co-ordination
between sport and health, we propose a new joint special advisor
between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department
of Health. Both the Public Health White Paper and the Government's
Sports Strategy, A Sporting Future for All, expressed a desire
to see increased participation in sport and recreational activities.
With such a clear policy overlap, it is logical for the two agendas
to work more closely together.
On this issue, the CCPR was greatly encouraged
to see the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and
the Public Health Minister appear jointly at a recent conference
on sport and health hosted by Sport England and the Health Development
3.3 A successful parallel has been the appointment
of a joint special advisor between the Department for Culture,
Media and Sport and the Department for Education and Employment.
This has contributed to improved relations between sport and education,
and mutually beneficial policy developments such as the announcement
of £750 million from the New Opportunities Fund for School
3.4 The CCPR welcomed the allocation of
£300 million of New Opportunities Fund (NOF) money to fund
the establishment of Healthy Living Centres, which among other
things will provide advice on exercise. Further support from NOF
to promote health related exercise and a healthy active retirement
would be welcomed.
3.5 The Government's Sports Strategy emphasised
measures to increase sporting participation. The membership of
the CCPR would be interested to receive the views of the Committee
as to whether the correct balance has been struck between competitive
sporting activity and more recreational endeavours.
4. A SUCCESSFUL
4.1 The Public Health White Paper sets out
a series of initiatives to build public health policies into local
healthcare delivery and states:
"Communities working in partnership through
local organisations are the best means of delivering better information,
better services and better community-wide programmes which will
lead to better health".
4.2 Sport and recreation, particularly local
voluntary clubs, can play a key partnership role in helping to
deliver local healthcare initiatives. Under the strategy each
local authority is required to draw up a Health Improvement Programme,
which is to include plans for meeting local and national public
health targets. These programmes should give recognition to the
role of sport and recreation.
4.3 Voluntary sport's clubs are non-profit
distributing, and funded from membership fees. They provide the
focal point for organised sport, bringing people together in communal
activities. At a time when a quarter of the UK population now
lives in single person households, sport in becoming an important
way to bring communities together. Research from Robert Putnam,
a Harvard Professor, strongly suggests the happiness is dependent
upon social contact and highlights the decline of traditional
bowling leagues as a source of social unease in America.
However many clubs are under financial strain
since they are classed as businesses for tax purposes. CCPR members
support Andrew Reed MP's Private Members Bill which proposed that
Community and Amateur Sports Clubs be given tax breaks and rate
relief on a par with charities.
4.4 Sport and recreation can play a particular
role in delivering programmes in Health Action Zones, where the
focus is on tackling health inequalities. For example the Merseyside
Health Action Zone has recently launched a 'Fit for Life Scheme'
with the St Helens Rugby League Club. Under the scheme year 10
pupils attend sessions at the club which help them with fitness
training and dietary advice.
4.5 The 'Exercise on Prescription' programme,
whereby patients can be subscribed courses of exercise by their
GP as part of their treatment is supported, and members are pleased
that the Government has shown a desire to expand the scheme. Sport
and recreation is well placed to help deliver the scheme effectively.
For example, through exercise sessions at the local sports centre
or through recreational sessions organised by the local sports
club. People are more likely to continue exercising beyond the
prescribed period if they are in a communal setting as opposed
to going alone to a sports centre. A successful example is the
City of Sunderland where there is a partnership between the local
authority and the local swimming club in delivering exercise on
prescription. This model of good practice has shown a successful
trend in sustained participation. A survey of participants found
that 71 per cent continued exercising after the completion of
5. POLICY: HEALTHY
5.1 Measures are needed to increase the
amount of regular physical activity undertaken by the population.
The Government should allocate resources for this purpose and
monitor the results. In particular the Government should provide
adequate funding for a wide range of sport and recreational activities,
to provide individuals with the widest possible range of opportunities
possible. There is a particular role for recreation, for example
keep fit, dance classes and rambling, in providing easily accessible
5.2 To help stem the decline in child activity
rates, it is of central importance that youngsters receive two
hours quality physical education within the school curriculum
per week. A 1999 Sport England Survey found that only 33 per cent
of school children received that amount. Furthermore a 1997 survey
in the Journal of Physical Education found that school PE was
the only form of physical activity for 30 per cent of 11-16 year
olds. We welcome measures in the Government Sport's Strategy aimed
at increasing sporting participation in schools, but are concerned
at the focus on after-school sport. Such measures target pupils
who are already enthusiastic about sport, as opposed to those
who are most inactive.
The aims of the Healthy Schools Initiative are
endorsed, and members stress the contribution physical activity
makes to the scheme.
5.3 The evidence on physical activity rates
shows that female activity rates are substantially lower. The
differential begins at school with girls less enthusiastic about
physical education. Measures to encourage girls to participate
more in school PE, through the provision of aerobic body orientated
sports, and a relaxation of dress codes are welcomed.
5.4 To tackle declining activity rates among
the elderly, the Government should take steps to encourage increased
opportunities for physical activity for people over 60. Furthermore
there should be easy access to affordable life long physical activity
courses for the retired to promote an active retirement.
5.5 In order to reduce the number of accidental
deaths caused by drowning, the Public Health White Paper proposes
more teaching of swimming. A joint survey published by the CCPR
and the Times Educational Supplement in July 2000 found that of
the schools responding, Key Stage 1 pupils (age five-seven) received
only 11 minutes of swimming per week, while Key Stage 2 pupils
(age 7-11) received 25 minutes. On average 15 per cent of pupils
in each school surveyed failed to meet the National Curriculum
target of swimming 25 metres unaided by age 11. Furthermore an
OFSTED Report on Swimming in Key Stage 2, published in November
2000, found that over half of schools had reduced the time allocated
to swimming over the previous three years. This was due to increase
costs and timetable pressures.
The CCPR feels that all children should have
access to curriculum swimming tuition whilst at school. Furthermore
the funding of school swimming should be addressed. Swimming tuition
should not be subsidised through parental contributions.
5.6 In order to prevent accidental deaths
through participation in outdoor adventurous activities, governing
bodies of sport believe that safety standards for individual activities
must be set by the relevant governing body.
6.1 The CCPR is pleased to respond to the
Health Select Committee inquiry into public health. Sport and
recreation has a key role to play in the public health agenda.
Participation in sport and recreation is a recognised preventative
measure against coronary heart disease and poor mental health.
At a time when the NHS is under increasing financial pressures,
a long term investment in preventative health measures is needed.
6.2 Measures are needed to encourage greater
sporting participation amongst individuals, particularly through
the provision of a minimum of two hours quality physical education
within the curriculum per week.
6.3 There should be more joined up thinking
on sport and health at a national level through the appointment
of a joint special advisor. Recognition should be given to the
role that sport and recreation can play as a partner in delivering
community health initiatives.
THE CENTRAL COUNCIL OF PHYSICAL RECREATION
(a) Figures from 1998 Annual Health Survey
showing proportion of age groups, across genders, meeting recommend
Government guidelines on adult physical activity:
|Age group||Percentage of women meeting recommended exercise guidelines
||Percentage of men meeting recommended exercise guidelines
(b) Figures from the 1996 General Household Survey showing
activity rates across different social groupings:
|Socio economic class||Percentage regularly taking part in physical activity 
|Employers and Managers||69
|Intermediate and Junior Non-Manual||66
|Skilled Manual and Own Account Non-Professional
|Semi-Skilled Manual and Personal Service
Defined as an individual having participated in at least one
sporting activity during the previous four weeks. Back