‘Worrying’ fall in exercise in Doncaster

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Councillors are being warned that there has been a fall in people getting what doctors think is enough exercise in Doncaster.

Statistics to be presented to Doncaster Council’s health and wellbeing board next week show 32.7 per cent of residents were getting the benchmark 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise once a week in April 2014 – down from 38.4 the previous October.

And the report reveals a survey in 2014 revealed less than half of borough primary schoolchildren participate in three hours of physical education and school sport per week – a fall of 19 per cent since 2010.

The report warns: “Further work has to be undertaken to identify if this pattern is similar for secondary education. It is a worrying trend, which Doncaster Active Partnership will work to address.”

Health officials who have written the report said the April figure for adults still represented a rise on the earlier figures, with only 28.3 per cent getting that level of exercise in April 2006.

The report stated that over a seven-year period, the borough’s participation levels for over 16s, as measured through its Active People Survey, had increased from 28.3 per cent of the population to 32.7 per cent.

It says: “This increase is above the national, regional and South Yorkshire trends.

“However, despite this success, the first six months results for 2014 show we still have lower participation levels than the rest of the Yorkshire region and the country.”

Health bosses in the borough have drawn up a Doncaster physical activity and sport strategy.

Officials say this has identified that there are specific issues in relation to access and participation in physical activity and sport.

Local data from Sport England Market Segmentation has identified that older members of our communities, particularly from poorer sections of the community, are participating less than the rest of the population.

The report also warns that women are getting less exercise than men.

It states: “Participation levels in women are much lower with a 14.2 per cent difference in the number of men participating in 30 minutes of exercise in comparison to women.

Officers have drawn up a strategy for the next five years.

Health bosses say they will continue to provide existing activity such as Get Doncaster Walking, which particularly supports older community members.

The report says: “There has been a huge amount of good work that has already been undertaken previously.

“We have developed an ethos of strong partnership working, which is particularly evident through the work Doncaster Active Partnership has undertaken.”