SkillsActive took part in a conference about the impact and opportunities the London 2012 Olympic Games offer Northern Ireland on Wednesday 25 April.
The 'Moving The Nation: Working Together To Get More People Active' event in Craigavon aimed to bring together a number of key experts and agencies to share information relevant to the promotion of physical activity and a healthier lifestyle among the local population, during this summer of sport.
SkillsActive Northern Ireland manager Siobhan Weir (pictured with other delegates) says: “This event was an excellent example of private and public sector organisations coming together to explore how they can all work better together to stop the obesity epidemic. This is a particular issue for NI where one in five adults classified as obese.”
Health Minister Edwin Poots told the conference: “All Departments, agencies, groups and individuals have a responsibility to ensure that the decisions which are made and the actions taken, work in the best interests of the population of Northern Ireland. We cannot work in isolation. Physical activity is a vital part of maintaining and promoting good personal health. Being active is as important as having a nutritious diet when it comes to helping maintain a healthy weight. Participating in physical activity, either for sport or a leisure activity, such as walking or gardening, can also help promote good mental health and wellbeing.”
Dr Hassan from the Ulster Sports Academy discussed the defining features of the Games, a critical interpretation of the much-vaunted concept of ‘legacy’ and the political implication of hosting the summer Olympics in the UK for the first time in over 60 years.
Dr Conor McClean spoke about modern trends in public health such as the increase in chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. The development of these conditions is, in many cases, linked to lifestyle factors as poor diet and physical inactivity.
Conference organiser, Richie Smith of Unify Global Sport, an organisation specialising in community sport festivals, added: “Increased levels of physical activity of the population will not only relieve the financial burden on the health service, but it will also increase and maximise productivity and the performance of Northern Ireland’s workforce. In this Olympic year we have a great opportunity to encourage more people to engage in physical exercise which will enhance the local economy and the life of local communities.”