Suffolk/Essex: Lives could be saved with regular exercise

Doing the recommended amount of exercise could save lives

Doing the recommended amount of exercise could save lives - Credit: Archant

NEARLY 1,500 lives could be saved if people took part in physical exercise, figures have revealed.

Statistics released by the South West Public Health Observatory and charity Sustrans show a lack of physical activity could cause as many as 1,465 premature deaths in Suffolk and Essex each year.

The Health Impact of Physical Inactivity (HIPI) tool shows current levels of exercise are low among people aged 40 to 79 and health gains could be made if they increased physical activity.

The Government recommends that adults complete two-and-a-half hours of exercise a week.

In Suffolk, there were 2,747 deaths recorded in 2010 and it has been estimated that if 100% of people aged 40 to 79 did the recommended levels of exercise, there would have been 490 fewer deaths.

There were 1,495 emergency hospital admissions for people with coronary heart disease - 165 of which could be avoided.

There were estimated to be 30,789 cases of type two diabetes in Suffolk of which 4,130 could be preventable through exercise.

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A Suffolk County Council spokesman said small changes in exercise can have a huge impact on health and well-being.

He added: “With this in mind, the Most Active County programme was launched in February 2012, with the aim of working across communities and bringing together organisations to make physical activity not just an aspiration.

“The programme not only builds on the success of the Olympics, but conveys the need for people to fit physical activity into their daily routines.

“The overriding priority is to encourage local people to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing and enable them to live longer, healthier and active lives.”

In Essex, there were 5,399 deaths recorded in 2010 with an estimated 975 being preventable if exercise was taken.

There were 2,685 emergency admissions for coronary heart disease - 320 of which could be avoided. Dr Mike Gogarty, director of public health at Essex County Council, said: “Unfortunately these figures show that too many of residents in the county are affected by or die from preventable disease caused by inactivity.

“Being physically active has many benefits for our residents’ health and wellbeing.

“It can protect against many of the biggest causes of early death and chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers.

“It can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.”

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