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New UK Chief Medical Officer Guidelines for Physical Activity released  

Tuesday 10 September 2019

The new  Chief Medical Officer physical activity guidelines which update the 2011 guidelines take into account a breadth of new evidence which demonstrates the way in which we, as a nation, interact with physical activity.  

Physical activity is not just a health issue. It brings people together to enjoy shared activities and contributes to building strong communities whilst supporting the economy to grow.

Significantly, the new guidelines incorporate the CMO Physical Activity Guidelines for Disabled Adults which were published in 2018 and the result of a co-produced effort between academics and Disabled people led by our research partner Brett Smith at the University of Durham.  

“This is an important moment for the team at Disability Rights UK as it shows that our work with key partners in the sport sector including Sport England has helped to elevate the voice of Disabled people to challenge attitudes and perceptions about how and why Disabled people choose to be active.

“Our work with Brett Smith has meant that we have been able to develop evidence based approaches to tackling inactivity amongst Disabled people and influence important people in support networks to get the right messages about physical activity across. The new CMO physical activity guidelines will be a significant tool for DR UK and DPULO partners to who are playing a crucial role in transferring much needed knowledge about the benefits of physical activity over to Disabled people.”

Leanne Wightman, Programme and Impact Manager, Disability Rights UK 

Disability Rights UK has recently announced National Lottery funding from Sport England to continue its partnership to work with Disabled people, the social care sector and the sport sector to co-produce solutions to inactivity. The announcement of the new CMO guidelines further legitimises the work of Get Yourself Active and gives partners on the programme the tools needed to get the right messages out to important local influencers and change makers. 

Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England’s CEO said:

“It’s great to see the new CMO guidelines incorporating the guidelines for Disabled adults, which have been co-produced with Disabled people and supported by Disability Rights UK. We’re delighted to continue our partnership with Disability Rights UK to enable more Disabled people to be physically active.

“We know that Disabled people are twice as likely to be inactive compared with non-Disabled people, so the message that every minute of activity we do counts is going to be welcome and positive news. Those who do the least have the most to gain and it’s never too late to start gaining the health benefits. There are so many ways to get active, what’s important is to find a way that works for you.”

DR UK will continue to work in partnership with the University of Durham as part of this new round of investment to further develop the Social Worker Guidelines as well as promoting the CMO guidelines for Disabled adults. 

“For the first time the CMO physical activity guidelines included disability research and provided guidance for Disabled people. This would not have been achieved without the collaborative approach we – academics and DR UK – took. The partnership between DR UK and academics enabled us to bring together the latest scientific evidence and the voices of Disabled people to inform the guidelines and infographics.

“What was achieved through this partnership was recognised not only nationally by organisations like Public Health England, but also internationally. Our work has been taken up and translated by sport and disability organisations in Europe, Australasia, North America and Africa. One key lesson I learnt then from working with DR UK was that together, rather in silos, we can have wide reaching impact.”

Professor Brett Smith, Head of Research, School of Sport and Exercise SciencesUniversity of Durham 

Disability Rights UK is looking for new local partners to work together to influence the systems in which they operate to increase take up of physical activity amongst Disabled people. If you are a Disabled People’s User Led Organisation, grassroots or public sector organisation please get in touch with our Get Yourself Active Team. 

In other news: New funding to promote physical activity amongst Disabled people