Headlines: January 19th, 2004

Partnerships of health service, local government, voluntary groups and local citizens across Scotland are working to encourage people to be more active. The initiative is being steered by the Scottish Executive which believes that as a nation Scotland is inactive, unfit and increasingly overweight. The health of two thirds of the Scottish adult population is thought to be at risk from physical inactivity, making it the most common risk factor for coronary heart disease.A physical activities co-ordinator oversees the programme to ensure an integrated approach nationally and locally. The aim is to ensure that people are made more aware of the opportunities and support available to increase their activity levels. New Opportunities Funding is providing for the appointment of active living co-ordinators responsible for working with the local community. The schemes allow GP’s, other health professionals, social workers, community pharmacists and voluntary organisations to refer individuals who would benefit from exercise.

There are varied approaches for getting people more active. In South Ayrshire there is a 12-week course, that includes activities like yoga, tai chi, muscle balancing and strengthening. It also offers risk and home safety assessments, looking at amongst other things, diet, alcohol consumption and fall prevention. The Highlands scheme was launched with a 30-minute walk around the islands on the River Ness. In Stirling, a Play at Home Scheme development will help around 65 babies and their families each year.