Responding to Sport England’s latest survey about sport and physical activity, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Chair of the LGA's Culture, Tourism and Sport Board said:
“While it is encouraging that the majority of adults are still active, more needs to be done to reach the quarter of the population still classed as inactive to help prevent further health problems and creating extra pressure on the NHS and social care.
“Regular physical activity can help to prevent and manage more than 20 chronic conditions and diseases, many of which are on the rise and affecting people at an earlier age.
“Councils are full of ideas to support people to be active, including holistic approaches such as planning and designing our areas to make them easier to navigate on foot or by bike, for example, instead of just expecting our residents to attend leisure centres and gyms.
“But public health funding reductions and significant ongoing budget pressures have meant local authorities are struggling to fund these new ways of encouraging those sections of society who are not doing enough exercise, including those on lower incomes.
“Sport England’s launch of 12 pilot areas is an opportunity to fundamentally rethink how we engage people in getting active, with potential to expand this to all council areas and provide a major long-term cost saving for the country.
“This can only be done by properly resourcing all councils to help people in their communities get out and about, keep fit and stay healthy."