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Obesity strategy ‘doomed’ without funding for leisure facilities

Swimming can play a key role in helping the government tackle obesity, but the project is ‘doomed to fail’ if necessary funding is not provided for struggling leisure facilities.

Jane Nickerson, Swim England chief executive, said the government’s new obesity strategy would only be achievable if facilities are available for people to exercise in.

Hundreds of swimming pools are at risk from permanent closure due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic – and urgent investment is needed to help safeguard their future.

“The Government is right to acknowledge that tackling obesity is one of the greatest health challenges the country faces. It is also right to talk of the importance of being active and to shift healthcare focus more on public health and prevention,” said Nickerson.

“Swimming is a vital form of exercise for many people who are not able to be physically active on dry land – but they can only do it if pools are open. I fear this strategy is doomed to fail unless the required support for leisure facilities, and in particular swimming pools, is found.”

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