Tennis legend Andy Murray has announced a partnership with the NHS which will see him working across the UK to promote the benefits of physical activity.
The first examples of this collaboration is his support of Public Health England’s upcoming Change4Life campaign and children’s physical activity programmes the Daily Mile in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
As part of the NHS’s 70th birthday celebrations Andy Murray is using his public profile to support projects which have the aim of encouraging more people to start a regular habit that leads to a more active lifestyle. A key aim of the birthday celebrations is encouraging people to take care of their own health and increasing levels of physical activity will go a long way towards this.
Growing levels of obesity in adults and children is a major health issue for the NHS, as it can lead to a number of serious conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, some types of cancer and stroke. Obesity can also affect quality of life and lead to psychological problems.
The cost to the NHS of treating diabetes alone is around £10 billion every year – nearly 10 per cent of the NHS budget. It is estimated that obesity is responsible for more than 30,000 deaths each year and that obesity could overtake tobacco smoking as the biggest cause of preventable death.
Murray will champion Public Health England’s upcoming Change4Life campaign and The Daily Mile in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Change4Life aims to help families make small, sustainable yet significant improvements to their diet and activity levels.
Murray said: “I am a huge supporter of the NHS, but we all know it is under pressure. If we can increase levels of activity as a nation, it helps improve mood, self-esteem and energy, but it will also reduce the strain on the NHS by keeping us healthier. It’s especially important to instil these habits early and support and inspire young people to maintain them as they go through their teenage years.
“I am proud to be supporting Change4Life. It is a simple initiative which helps families improve their diets and get active.”
Professor Stephen Powis, medical director of NHS England, said: “As we mark the NHS’s 70th birthday, we all want to celebrate the profound impact it has on people throughout their lives. It’s great that so many people want to say thank you for how the NHS has helped them, including sport superstars like Andy Murray.
“I’m delighted that Andy Murray will also be supporting Change4Life, a fantastic campaign by Public Health England to encourage parents and their children to be more active and to eat healthily – I’m sure with Andy’s support more people than ever will take note and make a change for the better.”
Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist and head of physical activity at Public Health England, said: “Getting people more active is essential for a healthy lifestyle and it’s great to see a champion like Andy Murray working to raise the profile of physical activity. Our Change4Life campaigns have already helped millions of children have a healthier start in life by making physical activity a fun, easy choice and supporting families to be active together.”