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Let's Make Scotland More Active: A strategy for physical activity


Let's Make Scotland More Active: A strategy for physical activity

2 Summary of our recommendations

'If we take the right direction we can make Scotland more active.' Paths for All network,
Killearn, Stirlingshire.


38 We propose that work associated with this strategy is consistent with the following values.

  • Long-lasting structures and programmes of work.

  • Equal opportunities and access, regardless of age, sex, race, religion, social class, ability, disability, health status or geographic location.

  • Working in partnership and sharing responsibilities.

  • High-quality development influenced by evidence where it exists and experimentation and research where it does not.

  • Gives equal value to social and emotional outcomes as well as the physical health benefits.


39 Our vision is that:

  • "People in Scotland will enjoy the benefits of having a physically active life."


40 Or goal is:

  • "To increase and maintain the proportion of physically active people in Scotland."

41 We are setting targets to achieve 50% of all adults aged over 16 and 80% of all children aged 16 and under meeting the minimum recommended levels of physical activity by 2022. To meet this goal will need average increases of 1% a year across the population. These targets should now replace those set out in the White Paper: "Towards A Healthier Scotland".

For the foreseeable future, we will use the Scottish Health Survey to measure progress. We recommend that the targets should be reviewed every five years following the publication of the Scottish Health Survey. This should be part of an overall review of putting the strategy into practice.

42 We believe this pace of change is realistic based on reviews of progress in other countries. However, we are aware that overall targets can be achieved through different approaches, including:

  • maintaining existing levels of physical activity (that is, making sure that we reverse the trend towards reducing activity levels);

  • increasing activity levels across the entire population; and

  • bringing about basic changes in activity levels in specific sections of the population.

We suggest that we need to work on all three of these approaches at the same time. We recommend that community planning partnerships should consider whether they need to set sub-targets for specific population groups based on their assessment of local needs.

Strategic objectives

43 A general programme of work is needed to support all of the strategic priorities. We are asking Scottish ministers, the Scottish Executive and its agencies to take a lead in developing policies and identifying resources to support the development of these four strategic objectives. We believe that these changes will help to reverse the trends towards reducing levels of activity and to achieve gradual improvements in the overall levels of physical activity across the entire population.

  • To develop and maintain long-lasting, high-quality physical environments to support inactive people to become active.

44 Environmental policies are essential to help people be active as part of their everyday lives. A good example of this is the current use of ring-fenced resources (resources that can only be used for one particular purpose) in the public transport fund to support development that helps people to walk and cycle.

  • To provide accurate and evidence-based advice to staff who are involved in government policy and service delivery and who work in the voluntary and private sectors.

45 There is potentially a very broad range of staff that could help develop physical activity in Scotland. However, there is limited awareness of and knowledge about physical activity, and limited opportunities for training and education.

  • To raise awareness and develop knowledge and understanding about the benefits of physical activity and provide access to information.

46 Currently, only 34% of the population are aware of how much physical activity is needed for good health. Education programmes and the media can be effective in raising awareness and developing knowledge and understanding of the importance of physical activity. We recognise that this activity does not result in changes in people's behaviour without local services to back this up.

47 For children and young people, it is vital that we do not miss the opportunity while they are at school to provide this health education, as well as helping them gain skills through physical education for a physically active life.

  • To carry out research, monitoring and evaluation.

48 We will need ongoing commitment and resourcing for research, monitoring and evaluation to make sure that programmes are high-quality and effective.

Strategic priorities

49 As well as the strategic objectives that will benefit everyone in Scotland, the Task Force has identified strategic priorities for life stage groups and settings. We believe that this approach is necessary to bring about basic changes in levels of physical activity.

50 For each of these areas, action plans will need to be developed - both nationally and locally. At this stage, we are asking Scottish ministers, the Scottish Executive and its agencies to provide leadership, co-ordination and resources to start this process to plan action.

Priorities to support children and young people

51 Parents should be given support to gain the necessary skills and confidence to take an active role in helping their children to enjoy an active life.

52 All children and young people, including those with disabilities, should have the opportunity to be physically active through their home, school, college or university and community. This should include:

  • having the opportunity and being encouraged to take part in physical activity for at least one hour a day; and

  • having access to a range of physical activities including play, sports, dance, exercise, outdoor activities, active travel, such as walking and cycling, and being encouraged to be active in daily tasks in and around school, college or university.

53 We need to make stronger links between school and community, and between nursery, primary, secondary school and further and higher education.

54 All children, including children with disabilities, should be physically educated in nursery, primary and secondary school. This should include:

  • taking part in at least two hours of quality physical education classes a week (the definition of what we mean by quality physical education is in Annex B); and

  • gaining the appropriate movement and behavioural skills needed for an active life.

55 We recommend that the Scottish Executive's Review of Physical Education tackles the status and content of the physical education curriculum and the resources available for its delivery.

56 Teaching Profession for the 21st Century (McCrone) gives us the chance to deal with some of these issues and we recommend that the Scottish Executive explores this as a matter of urgency.

57 National priorities for education have given the Task Force the opportunity to develop and consult on performance and quality indicators (measures of performance and quality) for physical activity. The proposals are shown in Annex C. The Scottish Executive should act on the findings of this consultation.

Priorities to support adults

58 Adults who come into contact with primary care should be offered an assessment of the health risks associated with their level of inactivity and then be referred to appropriate counselling and community activities that are tailored to their specific interests.

Promoting activities for adults should include a range of things such as environmental changes, social support networks, education and using local media. These should be planned together as community-wide campaigns.

59 Employers should be given incentives to promote physical activity and this should be developed through initiatives such as Scotland's Health at Work (SHAW). This is an award scheme to encourage and support employers to develop policies for promoting health in the workplace.

60 Employees should have opportunities and be supported to be active in their workplace.

Priorities to support adults in later life

These proposals are on top of the proposals for all adults.

61 Adults later in life should have the opportunities and should be supported and encouraged to remain active in the community for as long as they choose.

62 Frail older people living independently should have self-help resources and staff support to be physically active within their homes.

63 People living in residential care should have opportunities for physical activity in line with the Care Home Standards 2001.

Strategic Co-ordination Framework

64 Currently, there is no department, organisation or agency with a clear duty for taking this strategy forward. Physical activity has been everyone's and no-one's responsibility. We believe that it is positive that so many have a role to play. However, we also believe that a clear framework for co-ordinating work needs to be developed as a matter of urgency at both national and local levels.

65 The action planning needed to take forward the strategic objectives and priorities will not be effective without this in place.

National Co-ordination Framework

66 To deal with this lack of co-ordination and overall responsibility for physical activity at a national level, we recommend that Scottish ministers, the Scottish Executive and its agencies do the following.

  • Make the post of national physical activity co-ordinator a permanent one.

  • Set up a physical activity national co-ordination group, with members from a range of departments and national agencies as well as organisations who can support, challenge and motivate.

  • Appoint to this team senior representatives who are able to make decisions about how resources are used and how the strategy is put into practice.

Local Co-ordination Framework

67 We recommend that local community planning partnerships are given political support and enough resources to help them co-ordinate and put into practice actions to support the development of physical activity.