Infographic: Figures reveal which parts of Norfolk exercise the most

Re-launch of the Water lane leisure centre, Lowestoft.

Re-launch of the Water lane leisure centre, Lowestoft. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Almost half the adults in Norfolk do no exercise, and women in the county are among the least active in England, according to new figures.

A survey by Sport England shows only 34% of adults do 30 minutes of exercise a week, as 49% admit they do none at all.

Sport England recommends half an hour of activity a week, much less than the two and a half hours recommended by the General Medical Council to combat physical inactivity, which costs the NHS £15m a year in Norfolk.

Just 20% of women meet this lower target of 30 minutes - the second lowest figure in the country.

Across the county, women do less exercise than men but North Norfolk has the least active women, with just 19.5% of women doing half an hour of exercise a week, compared to 28% of men.

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Sports partnership organisation Active Norfolk, which had £450,000 of Sport England funding since 2013 to promote sport in the county and also gets funding from the County Council and Local Authorities. said the figures did not tell the whole story.

Director Ben Jones said: 'It doesn't take into account the demographics of the county, the report isn't done on a like by like basis.

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'There are a lot of barriers for people in Norfolk such as rural isolation which is a big problem and we've got an aging population in Norfolk.

'Active Norfolk is committed to increasing Norfolk residents' access to physical activity opportunities as well as sport.

'We run a variety of beginner groups and taster sessions and specifically a programme that targets the inactive members of the population called Fun and Fit.

'This programme has engaged 1140 inactive adults and 700 moderately active adults in Norfolk since it was established in September 2013.'

He also warned that increasing pressure on local government to make saving meant the long term future of local authority provision was 'uncertain.'

Acknowledging the 'definite gap' in participation between men and women, Active Norfolk Physical Activity and Health Development Manager Shelley Ames said the company would be working hard to close it.

'The figures are probably a reflection of a national picture,' she said. 'So we're piggy backing on the success of the This Girl Can national campaign by Sport England.

'We need to tackle the confidence issue for women taking part in sport and the social elements.

'We're looking at the barriers to create programmes that tackle them.'

In Norfolk, Breckland is the least active county with just 31% of residents getting half an hour of exercise a week, but the figures were even worse in Waveney, where only 30% meet the 30 minute target.

A spokesman for Waveney District Council insisted it was 'striving to encourage people to get more involved' in sport and physical activity in the area after investing £1.1m into renovating Waterlane leisure centre.

The spokesman added: 'We are currently in the process of applying for a grant to promote sport to younger mums and older residents. We are also organisating an exciting summer of sport.

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