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National Government Policy, Strategies and Investments

Recommendation

In Wales physical activity is included in a number of national and organisational policies. These include; Climbing Higher, Creating an Active Wales, the Active Travel Act, Sport Wales, Every Child Hooked on Sport, Play Wales, The Right to Play, Healthy Schools, Future Generations, and the National Health Service Together for Health a five-year strategy for the NHS in Wales.

The Welsh Government’s Our Healthy Future is a framework that sets the future strategic direction for public health in Wales, to tackle the causes of ill health and promote the factors that contribute to better health and wellbeing. The framework focuses on key priority areas such as health and wellbeing through the life course, improving mental wellbeing and reducing health inequalities.

The problem to date is that policy has not resulted in an increase in physical activity in Wales for the past 10 years. Moreover there are a significant proportion of the population who report doing no activity of moderate intensity at all.

Definitions

The following policy documents were used in assigning a grade to this indicator: Climbing Higher, Creating an Active Wales, the Active Travel Act, Sport Wales, Every Child Hooked on Sport, Play Wales, The Right to Play, Healthy Schools, Future Generations, the National Health Service Together for Health, and the Welsh Government’s Our Healthy Future.

Local policies were not considered in the grading process due to time and resource constraints.

Deciding on a Grade

After extensive discussions, the Research Work Group concluded that the grade for this indicator would remain the same as in the 2014 Report Card. The grade was based on the findings that: a) at Governmental and quasi non-governmental levels there is still evidence of leadership and commitment to provide physical activity opportunities for all children and youth; b) there are allocated funds and resources for the implementation of strategies to promote physical activity for all children and youth; c) the Government has demonstrated progress through the key stages of public policy making; d) Wales still has a number of key national and organisational policies that include physical activity and are making cross-government efforts to integrate them. With the exception of the proportion of children and young people ‘hooked on sport’ the Research Work Group also recognised that policies and strategies had not yet increased physical activity and that inequalities in physical activity remain.

Considerations
  • Regularly updating “Creating an Active Wales” on physical activity and sedentary behaviour for health promotion, informed by an evidence base, would clearly support approaches to physical activity and sedentary behaviour management in children and young people in Wales in the future.
  • Data collection approaches that provide robust data to assess all quality indicators included in this Report Card are required.
  • Physical activity promotion in Wales has received criticism for lacking leadership and joined up approaches across Government portfolios (Wales Audit Office, 2007). This has resulted in fractures in strategy and delivery from national to local levels. Moreover data provides the evidence to support the lack of impact on physical activity in Wales over the past decade.
  • To “Turn the Tide on children’s inactivity” in Wales requires a clearly articulated ambition. This ambition requires an unbroken chain of policy-strategy-delivery-review. It is unfortunate for example that one of the most recent White Papers published by Welsh Government 'Listening to You: Your Health Matters' (2014) made no reference to physical activity.
  • The Welsh Government has appointed a National Programme Director for Physical Activity to work across cabinet portfolios and we hope that this will have an effect on physical activity at all levels including children. The “Getting Wales Moving” strategy may prompt Welsh Government to develop a coordinated action plan based on the recommendations to resource an implementation and evaluation plan. The ‘Transforming Public Health Strategy,’ ‘Communities First’ and ‘Wellbeing of Future Generations’ (Wales) Acts have the potential to correct some of the fragmented approaches to promoting uptake of physical activity in the past.
  • The current Report Card should be used to influence and inform policies and strategies, support structures, investments and opportunities that help promote sound health, growth and development in the nation’s children and young people.
Data Sources
  • Sport Wales Policies - link
  • Physical Activity and Nutrition Wales - link
  • Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes - link
  • Wellbeing of Future Generations Act - link
  • NHS Together for Health - link
  • Our Healthy Future - link
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