Health minister walks the talk about Outdoor activities

On the same day that the Peak District National Park celebrated its 63rd anniversary (17th April), OIA CEO Andrew Denton was out on the hill in Derbyshire with Jane Ellison MP, minister for Public Health.

The ‘walk and talk’ session had been specifically arranged by Denton to provide an opportunity to discuss the results of the recent ‘All-Party Commission on Physical Activity’ report and the role that outdoor activities play in the health of the nation.

Denton gained the support of local MP’s David Rutley (Macclesfield) and Andrew Bingham (High Peak) on the walk, also inviting The Ramblers CEO, Benedict Southworth to join everyone and spend time with the Minister to discuss the wider issues of tackling childhood obesity, social isolation and plans for government initiatives to encourage the general public ‘off the sofa’ and become more active in the Great Outdoors

When asked about the importance of getting people outdoors, the Minister commented: “We know that as a nation we are not active enough and we know that physical activity can play an important role in improving the health of the nation. A former Chief Medical Officer once described exercise as a drug and if it were prescribed it would be a wonder drug!

“Walking is one of the best ways of getting people moving, it is also incredibly sociable giving hours to walk and talk.

“I’m here to listen to what people can do more of and how the government can do more to support new initiatives. The OIA and The Ramblers are active in encouraging people to become more involved and we are trying to give a lead from government; we have ring-fenced £5.4 billion over two years for local government to allow them to promote everything that is good for local communities.”

Commenting on the time spent out on the hill with the Minister, Andrew said: “We are delighted that the Minister has taken time to talk with the OIA. Not only is it an unusually long appointment at two hours, but the fact the Minster put on her boots and walked on a strenuous four and a half mile hill walk is a real step forward for government engagement with the Outdoor Industries.

“Health is the biggest item on our lobby agenda right now, the timing is perfect following the recent ‘Move More Live Longer’ document and then the All-Party Commission on Physical Activity; we are driving interest and support for Outdoor Activities at the highest levels.”