Local Spotlight: Working together in Cheshire West and Chester to get kids moving more

Welcome to Local Spotlight, a regular feature in Collaborate, our stakeholder newsletter, that shines the light on the amazing public health people, teams, programmes and projects in Cheshire and Merseyside’s nine local areas that are really worth shouting about.

This month, we are shining a light on Cheshire West and Chester, where a recent workshop focused on how partners can work together to increase physical activity levels among young people. If you have a story that would be perfect for Local Spotlight, please contact champscommunications@wirral.gov.uk.

Cheshire West and Chester is on a mission to improve the health and wellbeing of its young children by getting them to move more.

The area held its first physical activity co-production event last month, which brought together a wide range of partners from across health, social care, education, and the voluntary sector, in order to set out a collaborative strategy for increasing physical activity amongst children.

Physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle, and it is especially important for children as they develop and grow. In England, however, studies have shown that children’s physical activity levels are not as high as they should be.

Only 22 per cent of children between the ages of five and 15 are meeting the recommended levels of physical activity, which are at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day. This means that the majority of children in England are not getting enough exercise, which can have serious consequences for their health.

There are several factors that contribute to the low levels of physical activity among children in England. One of the main factors is the increasing use of technology and sedentary behaviour. Children are spending more time sitting in front of screens, whether it’s watching television, playing video games, or using smartphones and tablets. This means they are less active and not getting the necessary exercise they need.

Another factor is the lack of opportunities for physical activity, particularly in lower-income areas. Children who live in deprived areas often have limited access to safe and affordable places to play and exercise. This makes it difficult for them to engage in physical activity, leading to a sedentary lifestyle.

The consequences of low levels of physical activity in children can be severe. It can increase the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems. It can also affect children’s mental health, leading to issues such as anxiety and depression.

At the event, colleagues attempted to combat these issues by presenting their ideas, which range from creating more spaces for families to be active together, concentrating on motor skills and balance, identifying more opportunities for physical activity in nursey and school settings, and much more.

Ian Ashworth, Director of Public Health for Cheshire West and Chester and the Collaborative’s Lead Director for Population Health, said:

“I am delighted to see how much energy and passion our partners from across a variety of sectors have for tackling this very important issue head-on. We know that increasing levels of physical activity – especially amongst our younger residents – makes a significant difference to their health and wellbeing, and the range of ideas discussed at our event will go a long way to making sure we get this right. I’d like to thank everyone for coming along and especially to colleagues from Newcastle University for supporting us with this work.”

To find out more about this work, please contact kate.tattersall1@nhs.net.