Cross-party Parliamentarians launch new report to fight physical inactivity crisis

Politicians from all parties join forces to help get our children moving

 Every year physical inactivity costs UK economy £20bn

 A new report launched today by a cross-party group of politicians sets out clear recommendations to tackle the growing physical inactivity epidemic in the UK. Co-authored by Crossbench Peer, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Charlotte Leslie MP, Julian Huppert MP, and Barbara Keeley MP, the All-Party Commission on Physical Activity report offers recommendations and solutions to help get us back on track.

This is the first of two reports from the All-Party Commission on Physical Activity, which was set up in October 2013. The first report, launched today, sets out the scale and scope of the problem, and maps out the specific areas that will require change.

Supporting the report is a powerful coalition of multi-sector organisations, including British Heart Foundation, Lawn Tennis Association, Sustrans, Nike, Premier League, and The Young Foundation.

The report’s authors, Chief Executives from the coalition, along with support from Lord Coe, and leading athletes including Paula Radcliffe, cyclist Mark Cavendish, and Arsenal footballer Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, will deliver a copy of the report to the three main parties and 10 Downing Street this morning to discuss the urgent need to address this crisis through a collaborative, cross-party approach.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, said:

“Physical activity is incredibly important to the wellbeing of children and adults, and can play a big part in helping people lead healthier lifestyles.

“That is why I have already committed to doing more to promote sport in our schools, with £150m guaranteed each year for the rest of this decade, and asked Lord Coe to report back to me on raising the level of physical activity across Britain as part of the Olympic and Paralympic legacy.

“But I want everyone to look at what more can be done and this report will help inform that work.”

The Baroness Grey-Thompson DBE, DL: “The threat that obesity poses to our society cannot be under-estimated.  I am delighted that the different sectors who can effect a change in this area have come together to give evidence, and with their guidance I hope that we can raise awareness of the importance of physical activity and start work on helping to eradicate the obesity epidemic.”

Dr Julian Huppert MP: “Inactivity poses huge problems for our health, and yet far too many of us do very little physical activity, if any. It’s not about being a top sportsperson, it’s about doing something regularly – something we can all manage. We can all walk or cycle more often, find time to go for a swim or a jog, or join a local sports club. It’s not hard and it does matter.

“Otherwise, we will continue to face growing obesity levels, more diabetes and other illnesses, worsening our health and how we will be able to live our lives when we are older. It also costs the country a huge amount of money!

“We should all make sure that we are physically active, and that our children are too.”

Charlotte Leslie MP: “This report is just the first step in beginning to tackle this toxic tidal-wave of physical inactivity. In our follow-up report, I look forward to really getting to grips with what exactly we can do to help people change their own lives on a day – to -day basis. Make no mistake, this is an epic mission and there is no quick, short-term solution. But that does not mean this is not worth doing – it is all the more reason to start now.”

Barbara Keeley MP: “The evidence the Commission heard on the health issues caused by inactivity was compelling. The scale of harm caused by physical inactivity is similar to that caused by smoking but the hazards of smoking are much better known to the public. Our report aims to highlight the serious implications of physical inactivity for the health of men, women and children in the UK and to spur policy makers into action.”

The report calls for the creation of a cross-sector and cross-departmental National Action Plan supported by the leaders of all the three major political parties. Other recommendations include:

  1. Raise awareness by implementing a public health campaign focused on the benefits of physical activity.
  2. Track progress by developing and introducing a standardised measure of physical activity across the UK, and standardised evaluation of investments.
  3. Ensure local and national policy supports the design of physical activity back into everyday life through active travel and leisure (such as walking and cycling to school or work) and making ‘active workplaces’ the norm.
  4. Make physical activity a lifelong habit by providing early access to positive experiences for children in sports, physical education, and active play.


Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: “Physical activity is a vital way of helping lower our risk of coronary heart disease, the UK’s single biggest killer. Put simply, we need to move more. Keeping active helps maintain a healthy weight and can help prevent conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, which can put our hearts at risk. A simple way to create lifelong healthy habits is to build physical activity into everyday routines in childhood. If we make schools and workplaces more active we can help today’s children move towards a healthier future.”


Marc van Pappelendam, VP/GM, Nike UK & Ireland, said “Active children do better, in every aspect of life – physically, emotionally, socially, and intellectually. Once a natural part of daily life, physical activity has become undervalued, when in truth, it is critical for every child. We all have a role in helping create an active society, from schools and cities, to workplaces and communities. We fully endorse the report from the All-Party Commission on Physical Activity.”

The Young Foundation

Simon Willis, CEO of The Young Foundation, said: “Physical inactivity is one of the determinants of health inequalities. But more activity can also deliver a range of benefits in health, wellbeing, productivity, and a host of other areas. The Young Foundation is committed to finding ways to help to get people moving. The final report of the All-Party Commission on Physical Activity provides a clear roadmap on how we can get this started. We need support from all of the major political parties for an issue this important.”

Lord Sebastian Coe

“Not many people are aware that physical inactivity currently accounts for nearly one-fifth of premature deaths in the UK. With projections showing that inactivity levels are due to increase by a further 15% by 2030 there is no doubt that the issue requires immediate national attention and urgent action. The report from the All-Party Commission on Physical Activity represents a true shift in how governments, NGBs, corporations, and the civil sector can work together in shaping the world’s perception of sport and physical activity.”

Lawn Tennis Association 

Michael Downey, Chief Executive of the LTA said “Today’s report shines a light on the serious issue of physical inactivity in society, and that action is needed now to promote the important role sport and physical activity needs to play across peoples whole lives. This is an issue that requires many people and organisations to work together to deliver change. We in British tennis want to play our part in this campaign – whether it’s through our education or community programmes – to help make a difference.”


Sustrans Chief Executive Malcolm Shepherd, said: “The easiest and single most effective way of increasing physical activity is to transform our daily journeys to school, work or leisure into active journeys by walking or cycling. The average primary school journey is just 1.5 miles – the perfect distance to walk or cycle. If eight out of ten primary school journeys were made by bike or on foot, many of our physical activity ambitions would be realized. Making the public realm welcoming for walking and cycling is the key to increasing physical activity. This means simple things such as better pavements and cycle lanes, lower speeds and a public commitment to funding for active travel.”

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For more information, please contact Victoria Willis, Nicola Biles, Alex Try, or John Davies at Blue Rubicon on 0207 2602700 or

Notes to Editors

Over the last six months, the All-Party Commission on Physical Activity has held five evidence sessions to hear from over 40 organisations and individuals across four key sectors – Health, Sport, Transport & Urban Planning, and Education; hosted two evidence sessions for MPs and Peers; and received over 150 submissions of written evidence. Oral and written evidence has been received from individual citizens, and from organisations such as The National Trust, British Athletics, and Public Health England.

For a full copy of the All-Party Commission on Physical Activity report please visit here.

Twitter hashtag

The hashtag for the All-Party Commission on Physical Activity report is #ActivityCommission

Champions and Supporters:

The All-Party Commission on Physical Activity is supported by the Premier League, Sustrans, British Heart Foundation, The Young Foundation, Lawn Tennis Association, Nike, and Lord Sebastian Coe.

  • Premier League The Barclays Premier League is the biggest continuous annual global sporting event in the world. Last season more than 13m fans attended matches with average stadium occupancy in excess of 95%.  Across nine months of the year, 380 matches are viewed in 212 territories worldwide. Coverage of the matches is available in over 800m households with an estimated cumulative global audience of 4.7bn.
  • Sustrans is the charity that’s enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day. It’s time we all began making smarter travel choices. Make your move and support Sustrans today.
  • British Heart Foundation Coronary heart disease is the UK’s single biggest killer. For over 50 years we’ve pioneered research that’s transformed the lives of people living with heart and circulatory conditions. Our work has been central to the discoveries of vital treatments that are changing the fight against heart disease. But so many people still need our help. From babies born with life-threatening heart problems to the many Mums, Dads and Grandparents who survive a heart attack and endure the daily battles of heart failure. Join our fight for every heartbeat in the UK. Every pound raised, minute of your time and donation to our shops will help make a difference to people’s lives.
  • The Young Foundation is determined to make positive social change happen. We pioneered the field of social innovation with The Open University, UpRising and Studio Schools. We work closely with individuals, communities and partners building relationships to ensure that our thinking does something, our actions matter and the changes we make together will continue to grow.
  • Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) is the national governing body for British tennis. Its mission is to get more people playing tennis more often, and its role is to develop, promote and govern tennis in Britain. To find a playing partner, local court or coach please visit
  • NIKE, Inc. based near Beaverton, Ore., is the world’s leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly-owned NIKE, Inc. subsidiaries include Converse Inc., which designs, markets and distributes athletic lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories; and Hurley International LLC, which designs, markets and distributes surf and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories. For more information, visit  and follow @Nike.
  • Designed to Move is a call-to-action supported by a community of public, private and civil sector organizations dedicated to ending the growing epidemic of physical inactivity. For more information, please visit