It appears that the Welsh public need more of an impetus than most. Today life expectancy in Wales stands at 75.8 years for men and 80.3 years for women – an increase for men of 2.5 years and 1.4 years for women since the early 1990’s. While this hints at improving standards in levels of health, a recent report by Professor Peter Townsend on inequalities in health points out that there is no cause for complacency. ‘Targeting Poor Health’ revealed:

  • Mortality rates in Wales are among the worst in western Europe
  • The death rate from heart disease in Wales is substantially higher that in many European countries
  • Wales has among the highest rates of cancer in western Europe
  • In the last census, Wales had a much higher percentage of people reporting long-term limiting illness than England
  • There is consistently poor health in the South Wales valleys – in 2000-2002 death rates in Merthyr were 50% higher that in Ceredigion

Helping to reduce health inequalities and make an impact on the overall health of the nation, the Welsh Assembly has recently announced an additional investment of £4 million in the health and well being of the people of Wales.

Sports Minister Alun Pugh sees the investment as an important step forward:

"At present less than one third of adults in Wales are active for the recommended levels, putting two thirds of the population at an increased health risk.

"In order to enjoy better health, we must get more physically active as a nation. The innovative Active Lifestyles programme will be used to fund improvements to community facilities, making it easier for local communities to become active, whether it's in community centres, village halls, schools or parks.

"We also have a wonderful natural environment in Wales, and we want people in Wales to make better use of the free 'green gym' on our doorstep."