Active Movement is an initiative set up by ISEH's Dr Mike Loosemore that focuses on simple behaviour changes to empower people to sit less and move more.

"Despite the many discussions, reports and news items about the increases in children’s obesity and inactivity, there still seems to be no cohesive action plan in place. There have been moves to develop new strategies such as the Government’s Obesity Strategy and from Sport England who have at least widened their remit by age band and beyond sport.

This recognition that sport and activity are not synonym is perhaps a new reality we need to pursue. For too long, the focus has been on getting the most inactive to run, cycle or join a gym with little chance of those who have rejected exercise suddenly finding some suppressed athleticism. There are two polar views – inactivity or sport with very little in between.

Yet there is now clear evidence that attacking this middle ground could have huge benefits. Our sedentary lifestyle is now seen as a separate and more dangerous concern for long-term well-being beyond just a lack of physical fitness. Reducing sitting times and integrating regular low-level activities into daily routine can have significant effects on physical and emotional health both short-term and for a lifetime.

This new concept of activity has considerable advantages. Without the need for facilities, amenities, equipment, travel, training regimes or expense, introducing simple steps to increase physicality can be available to anyone at any time. The key component is ensuring it becomes a behaviour change not an exercise regime. The more (and earlier) one can embed non-sedentary behaviour and low-level activity as a routine, the more it will be taken up and the greater likelihood the least active will see initial health gains leading to the more active society most health organisations and authorities crave but fail to deliver.

However much we try to motivate, incentivise or terrify the inactive into physical effort, in the end we have to rely on individuals recognising their need and acting upon it. That will mean finding innovative approaches, empathetic communication and achievable activity levels to change mindsets so engaging a new behavioural norm.

As a startpoint, don’t always think of sport and intense physical activity as our goal but a nice too have. Instead, let’s encourage young and old to believe any movement they make is an active one.

To hear about influential speakers such as Greg Whyte MBE, June O’Sullivan OBE, Justin Varney, Dr Mike Loosemore, Linda Baston-Pitt and others talk about their experiences, attend the Innovations in Combatting Children’s Obesity and Inactivity conference at the ISEH on the 15 March for a day of outstanding speakers and lively debate.

Read highlights of the first Active Movement conference