13th December 2013

Take action to get active


Public Health England’s mission is to  protect and improve the nation’s health and to address inequalities. Their responsibilities include supporting the public so they can protect and improve their own health and making the public healthier by encouraging discussions, advising government and supporting action by local government, the NHS and other people and organisations.

In our guest blog today Kevin Elliston, Public Health  Consultant in Health Improvement for the Devon Cornwall and Somerset Centre,  explains why they are supporting  the ‘ How can we encourage active lifestyles in Britain? GeoVation Challenge and how  your ideas can really help us to get more active. 

Obesity will soon supercede tobacco as the greatest cause of Photo of active family with kite premature death in this country. We need to take action now! This is probably not the best way to start a guest blog entry on the GeoVation Challenge. However it is a timely reminder that we all need to look at our lifestyles and how much activity we take in a day or in a week. We know that moderate daily activity can help maintain a healthy-weight but for many of us in the UK our way of life means that we spend far more time sitting down than previous generations.

The ‘How can we encourage active lifestyles?’ GeoVation Challenge can therefore really encourage people to get more active where possible. Public Health England (PHE) has set out one its national priorities to help people to live longer and healthier lives by reducing preventable deaths and the burden of ill health associated with smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, poor diet, poor mental health, insufficient exercise, and alcohol. The GeoVation Challenge will certainly make a contribution to the PHE priority of helping people live longer healthier lives and that’s why we have publicised the challenge to all our local authority public health colleagues in Devon, Cornwall, Isle of Scilly and Somerset. Each local authority has a Health and Wellbeing Board and promoting healthy active lifestyles is a critical success factor for them to deliver their local goals for their local populations.

The GeoVation Challenge will also support ‘Change for Life’ the national campaign which has been running since 2009 The Change for Life programme says that building activity into our day keeps our heart healthy, reduces our risk of serious illness and strengthens muscles and bones. It can also be a great way of reducing our stress levels and lifting our mood if we’re feeling down. That means adults need to be active for at least 150 minutes each week, kids aged five to 16 ideally need to be active for at least 60 minutes each day and kids under five need three hours of activity a day (find out more on the NHS Choices website). So why not have a look at the Change for Life website and get some inspiration for your GeoVation Challenge idea? The GeoVation Challenge is a fantastic opportunity to encourage children, families and individuals, of any ability, to be more active in daily life. I hope we canClick here to enter the Active Lifestyles GeoVation Challenge encourage as many people as possible to submit their ideas to the GeoVation challenge and encourage more people to get active across the UK!


The GeoVation Challenge runs to 12 noon on 8 January 2014, so if you have a great idea on how you can encourage active lifestyles in Britain, please enter your ideas.  As with previous GeoVation Challenges we are looking for great ideas which address the problems using geography, technology and good design. Ordnance Survey will be offering a slice of £100,000 to help develop ventures that make best use of our data, including OS OpenData and OS OpenSpace, together with other open data to solve problems.