One in three adults in Reading do not take part in the minimum recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a week. Obesity – particularly among young people – is a health priority.
As part of the public consultation, the council is asking people what would help them lead more active lives.
It is particularly keen to hear from people who are not currently active to find out what barriers prevent them from leading healthier lives. It also wants to hear from people who are active to find out what works for them and what they think could be improved.
The council is committed to providing modern and much-improved facilities for swimmers, keep fit and sports enthusiasts in Reading including a £30million investment in two modern new swimming pools.
In addition, the council’s recent Public Health Services consultation, which launched in 2018, identified how Reading’s range of parks and open spaces were particularly important in providing a place for people to exercise and improve their well-being and £2.8million will be invested in this over the next five years.
Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Reading’s lead member for health, wellbeing and sport, said: “One of the most important things we can do is to help people lead more active and healthy lives.
“Lack of physical activity contributes a major risk factor for many chronic diseases, such as obesity, coronary heart disease, stroke, type II diabetes, with obesity now the cause of as many cases of cancer as smoking. It can add to feelings of anxiety and depression.
“We know there are many residents who regularly enjoy sports and being active, whether it’s taking a regular swim or joining in with team sports or working out at the gym. Leisure isn’t just about sport in leisure centres and gyms though. It can be anything from getting out and about in Reading’s many parks and green spaces, walking or cycling instead of using the car, taking part in a dance class or trying a new activity like yoga. Regular exercise helps keep people healthier and happier.”
He added: “As part of the consultation we have launched this week, we are really keen to hear from people who don’t currently lead active lives. If that is you or your family, we want to know how we can help you to get you more active and how can we encourage you to try new sports or activities. If you already take part in sport or physical activity, we want to know what works for you and what you would like to see improved.”
As well as an online consultation, there will be face to face survey work undertaken across the town and targeted work with key focus groups in the community.
All responses received will be used to create a future vision for the sports and leisure offer in Reading.
The results of the consultation will be published in the autumn.