July 30 2014 Latest news:

SUFFOLK is to play a leading international role in developing new ways of keeping people active, healthy and happy as they grow older.

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Suffolk County Council (SCC) has been awarded £310,000 from the European Union to spearhead a group of European organisations which will improve the understanding of the best ways to keep 45 to 65-year-olds in good health.

The programme will develop and uncover innovative approaches to healthy ageing – learning from the best in Suffolk and Europe and sharing knowledge.

The initiative will include six Suffolk organisations as well as the SCC: Healthy Ambitions Suffolk Ltd, University Campus Suffolk, Suffolk Sport, Live Well Suffolk and NHS Suffolk.

The county council will work in partnership with organisations from Spain, Denmark, Germany and Italy and with three other organisations in the country – Demos, the think tank and research institute, The Design Council and Live Well UK.

The programme is being funded in recognition of the fact that people are living and working longer and facing more health challenges.

In the last decade, life expectancy in Suffolk has increased to an average of 79.6 years for men and 83.5 years for women.

Dr Amanda Jones, Suffolk’s acting director of public health, said: “We know that life expectancy is continuing to rise so it’s crucial that we make sure people have a good quality of life in their later years.

“Only one in five middle-aged adults in Suffolk do enough exercise to stay healthy and nearly one in four are clinically obese. If we are to ensure that we enjoy our later years it is critical that we have opportunities and support to stay healthy and active.”

Councillor Kathy Gosling, Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for sport, culture, diversity, health and wellbeing, said: “This is an exciting initiative which will mean Suffolk can actively explore ways of helping people to remain happy, healthy and able to participate in their communities.”

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