Council to use Olympics to boost exercise rates
Post by John Chappels
on 08 February 2012 in Health & Wellbeing
Councillors in Newcastle are hoping to use the 2012 Olympic Games to get the city's population exercising.
Data released as part of a council report into improving sport and leisure in the area has revealed that almost 50 per cent of Newcastle residents don't engage in any form of exercise. The city council's policy cabinet is due to meet this afternoon to discuss what measures can be taken to boost participation and improve the health of residents.
It's hoped the 2012 Olympics can be used to encourage more people to take an interest in sport.
As well as receiving a visit from the Olympic torch in June, Newcastle has been chosen to host eight football matches during the games, including the men's and women's quarter-finals.
According to the Evening Chronicle newspaper, there is a considerable difference between the number of men and women who exercise regularly in Newcastle. The council found just under 41 per cent of men fail to do even one 30-minute session of moderate exercise per week. Among women, this increases to almost 59 per cent.
Councillor Henri Murison, cabinet member for quality of life, hopes the impact of the Olympics can help reverse the trend.
He said: "The key thing is how we use the facilities we have and how we get people involved. It's not just about elite athletes, it's about everyone in the community getting active.
"The Olympics will help break down some of the barriers and that should help get a lot more people taking part in sport, therefore making them fitter and less likely to develop serious long-term illnesses."