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Understanding and addressing inequalities in physical activity

A new guide looks to offer local level practitioners and commissioners – as well as those working in physical activity – help to identify and break down barriers preventing people from taking part in exercise.

Called Understanding and addressing inequalities in physical activity, the document presents the findings of a review, analysis and research aimed at understanding the challenges and opportunities for increasing physical activity across inequality groups.

Published by Public Health England, the guidance identifies three major themes for practitioners to consider, to help get the public more active.

These are to examine the enablers and barriers to activities while identifying opportunities; community consultation, engagement, and partnership; and adopting a holistic approach for protected characteristics and intersectionality.

The document also includes a full set of recommendations for commissioners and practitioners to consider when designing services and interventions locally.

"The report presents the findings of a study, conducted at the University of Derby, which aimed to further understand levels of inequalities in physical activity across and within protected characteristic groups," said Jessica Jackson, one of the guidance's authors and research Nurse in health, psychology and social care at the University of Derby.

"There is a wide range of evidence-based interventions which aim to increase population-based physical activity.

"However, evidence suggests that many interventions exacerbate inequalities for communities with protected characteristics. Protected characteristics include age, ethnic or national origin, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, sex, being pregnant, married, in a civil partnership or have a disability.

"It is hoped that this information will be useful for commissioners, from a variety of sectors, to proactively work towards equal opportunities for all individuals in health and wellbeing."

To access and download the guidance, click here.


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