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Couch potato culture is costing lives, warn health advisers

27 February 2009

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We must all “fight the couch potato culture” to reduce rising levels of obesity and diabetes, says Somerset PCT, which is attempting to raise awareness of the need to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days of the week.

Recent figures show 27 million adults in England are not getting enough exercise, and public health advisers warn that the obesity epidemic is already costing the local NHS an estimated £7m each year to treat.

Following the new Be Active, Be Healthy campaign, in which GPs are encouraged to prescribe physical activity as readily as drugs (see link to story below), Somerset PCT is working with its partners in the county, district councils and the voluntary sector to help get everyone aware of the need to take more exercise and eat a healthy, balanced diet.

It is trying to spread awareness that regular physical activity is important to help prevent major disease like obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Dr Caroline Gamlin, Director of Public Health for Somerset, says: “Physical activity is the key to reducing the rising levels of obesity we are seeing across the country and here in Somerset.

“You don’t have to spend lots of money to get active. Dancing, swimming and walking are very good ways to improve your levels of fitness. Even taking the stairs instead of using the lift can make a difference. We all have to fight the couch potato culture and look to improving the wellbeing of ourselves and our families.

“If you combine physical activity with eating a healthy, balanced diet you really can avoid piling on the pounds and reduce your risk of being one of the 9,000 people who die prematurely in England each year from obesity related disease.”

Be Active, Be Healthy

Related article: GPs to prescribe more exercise and physical activity