Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Health, well-being and council spending.

An article in the LGA First magazine caught my attention this week. It was about spending on learning, and the knock on effect of lowering heath costs. We have to meet the challenge of an ageing population. The article goes on to say that local authorities can help by helping people maintain their mental and physical resilience and by building networks within communities, so that the first call for support are friends and family, rather than the state.
Helping people and communities to help themselves extends the independent phase of peoples lives. If successful, it is not just the quality of lives that are improved, but also some of the estimated £77bn that mental illness costs the economy each year.

This followed on from something that I saw on the BBC about green exercise.  Researchers claim that just five minutes of exercise in a "green space" such as a park can boost mental health
Study leader Jules Pretty, a researcher at the University of Essex, said "A challenge for policy makers is that policy recommendations on physical activity are easily stated but rarely adopted widely."

All of this fitted in with something that I read in the New Scientist and other places some time back: People who exercise tend to be more socially active, which enhances cognitive activity. When the article was written 2 years ago, it sad that we need randomised trials to establish the relationship, but nonetheless exercise undoubtedly has extensive health benefits" This appears to be born out in the recent research.

This fits well with the Bracknell Forest Council Priorities 2 and 3. “Protecting and enhancing our environment” and “Promoting health and achievement”. It just goes to show how spending a relatively small amount of money in the right areas, can have the knock on effect of not only helping people, but saving money.

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