BMA lobbying

Steps to increase physical activity levels in the UK

This briefing examines the current low levels of physical activity in the UK and the significant inequalities that exist in levels of physical activity within the population.

Location: UK
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Thursday 26 August 2021
Topics: Population health
Public Health Article Illustration

What you will get from this briefing

  • Policy recommendations across four core parts
    of people’s lives – travel, leisure, school and work.
  • Why physical activity is beneficial for people's health.
  • Recent statistics to support recommendations.


Key recommendations

  • Increase the cross-departmental budget for active travel to £20 per head.
  • Provide local government with the resource to reverse budget cuts to open spaces and recreation facilities, with targeted additional investment in the most deprived local areas.
  • Physical education needs to be recognised and protected as an essential part of the school curriculum.
  • The NHS should act as an 'anchor institution' to encourage and facilitate active travel and set an example for other employers.
  • Health benefits of physical activity
  • Physical activity levels across the UK
  • Inequalities in levels of physical activity within the population
  • Actions for governments and policymakers to increase physical activity levels in the UK