Friday, October 24, 2014

Lazy lifestyle killing welfare state

The Telegraph is reporting that couch potato lifestyles could put an end to the welfare state. A landmark report now warns that Britain's appalling couch potato lifestyle is one of the worst in the world. It could cause the collapse of the welfare state, the bombshell report warns.

Couch potato lifestyles have left the UK with one of the lowest levels of activity in the western world, and without change, the welfare state could collapse, health officials have warned.
A landmark report by Public Health England
(PHE) says lack of exercise is as dangerous as smoking - directly contributing to one in six deaths every year.

Officials warned that the UK population is now 20 per cent less active than it was in the 1960s, with half of women and one third of men damaging their health through lack of physical activity.
Almost two thirds of the UK population do not do enough exercise, the report warns – while in Germany and France, the figure is less than one in three.

Officials say that without major changes in the way people live their lives, the welfare state in Britain could collapse under the burden of self-inflicted diseases, which are fuelled by obesity, alcohol and smoking.

Its forecasts show that the population of England is 20 per cent less active than it was in 1961. If trends continue, we will be 35 per cent less active by 2030.

It comes as separate research suggests that children would be more active if Britain switched to continental time by moving the clocks forward an hour.

Lighter evenings would increase the amount of time children engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity each day by an average of two minutes, the study of 23,000 children by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found.

The findings, published in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, showed activity levels were 15 to 20 per cent higher on summer days when the sun set after 9pm, than they were in winter when darkness fell before 5pm.

The report by Public Health England says the typical lifestyle in Britain, with long hours spent in desk jobs, high levels of car travel and evenings spent watching TV or playing computer games is endangering the health of most of its population.

It warns: “Social, cultural and economic trends have removed physical activity from daily life. Fewer of us have manual jobs.16 Technology dominates at home and work, the two places where we spend most of our time. It encourages us to sit for long periods – watching TV, at the computer, playing games or using mobile phones and tablets. Over-reliance on cars and other motorised transport is also a factor.”

Health officials say other high-income countries like Finland, the Netherlands and Germany, perform far better, with most people taking much more activity as part of their day.
“Around one in two women and a third of men in England are damaging their health through a lack of physical activity,” it warns.

“This is unsustainable and costing the UK an estimated £7.4bn a year.2,3 If current trends continue, the increasing costs of health and social care will destabilise public services and take a toll on quality of life for individuals and communities.”

Government guidelines say people should do at least 2 and a half hours of moderate aerobic activity a week, which could mean a brisk half-hour walk from Monday to Friday.

Alternatively, an hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous activity – such as running or singles tennis – is enough to meet the requirements.
Adults should also do some “muscle strengthening” activities, they say – which could mean weights in the gym, yoga or heavy gardening.

Children are advised to take at least an hour of physical activity every day, which should range between moderate-intensity activity, such as cycling and playground activities and vigorous-intensity activity, such as fast running and tennis.

They are also advised to do some muscle-strengthening exercises, such as tree-climbing, games such as tug-of-war, or gymnastics.

If those who took no exercise, introduced activity into their daily lives, one in ten cases of stroke and heart disease could be prevented, the report says.
More than 40 per cent of women and 35 per cent of men spend more than six hours a day desk-bound or sitting still, it adds.

Shockingly, it warns that the lifestyles of those aged 16 to 24 are as sedentary as those of pensioners.
The landmark report says changes in the trends are needed to protect the welfare state from collapsing under the burden of lifestyle diseases, with increasing numbers suffering health problems and being left unable to work.

“Getting the nation moving every day is essential. At a national level it will help keep the welfare state economically viable. At a personal level it’s fun and sociable – and helps people stay physically and mentally well,” it says.

Launching the report, Public Health Minister, Jane Ellison said: “Whatever age you are, physical activity is vital for maintaining good health, quality of life and independence: for young people, it is vital to get into healthy habits for life.”

It follows a 5-year plan for the NHS published today, which warns that the health services may not survive without reforms and action to tackle unhealthy lifestyles.
The report by Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, warns: “The future health of millions of children, the sustainability of the NHS, and the economic prosperity of Britain all now depend on a radical upgrade in prevention and public health.”

"Put bluntly, as the nation's waistline keeps piling on the pounds, we're piling on billions of pounds in future taxes just to pay for preventable illnesses."

The plans will see NHS funds pumped into schemes which provide those who lose weight with cash prizes, or get workers to compete to lose pounds.
Mr Stevens said he wants businesses to sign up to such initiatives, to improve the health of their staff, but said “some national funding” would be invested to encourage employers to sign up.
The report from Public Health England says just thirty minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity can make a big difference to health.

“Physical activity does not need to be strenuous to be effective,” it stresses.
“Thirty minutes a day of moderate aerobic activity can be a brisk walk, a swim, or even a spell of gardening. Each ten-minute bout that gets the heart rate up has a health benefit. Although sport can be part of the picture, activity can also be more informal,” it says, in a bid to encourage the nation to take up dancing, or everyday activities such as walking or cycling.

Source: The Telegraph (UK)
by By Laura DonnellyHealth Editor

No comments:

Post a Comment