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HELPING HAND FOR THOSE WANTING TO LEAVE THE CAR AT HOME

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A helping hand is being offered to people who want to get more exercise and switch from driving to walking or cycli...
A helping hand is being offered to people who want to get more exercise and switch from driving to walking or cycling to work.

With many people choosing to leave the car at home, transport minister Sally Keeble and public health minister Yvette Cooper, have launched the government's new 'Walk in to Work Out' initiative. This is aimed at providing more information for those wanting to walk or cycle to work.

Recent research found that of those people who said they had switched some short car journeys to other modes:

* 34% had done so to get more exercise

* 8% to help the environment

* 2% to help to reduce congestion

The 'Walk in to Work Out' initiative includes an information pack which is being sent to over 2,000 travel plan co-ordinators within major organisations, businesses and local authorities, to help them to work with employees who choose to leave the car at home. The pack includes goal setting, journey planning, and safety information.

Sally Keeble said:

'I hope that this pack will complement the excellent work being carried out by local authorities and others across the country to improve conditions for cycling and walking - often in conjunction with partners from the health sector.

Yvette Cooper said:

'Research has shown that walking and cycling can help many aspects of health including reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and some cancers, both key priorities in the NHS Plan. Walking or cycling all or part of the way to work can be convenient ways for people who want to increase their physical activity for health benefits. I hope this pack will be used as part of local physical activity plans, which will help to reduce Coronary Heart Disease'.

The pack is based closely on a successful pilot carried out in Scotland by the Greater Glasgow Health Board, the University of Glasgow and the Health Education Board for Scotland. Research found that the pack was effective in doubling rates of walking to work, and in contributing to improvements in physical and mental health.

Notes

DTLR carried out the research in January 2001 using the Office of National Statistics' omnibus survey. Around 1,850 people were questioned on a range of transport issues, of whom 38% said they had switched some short car journeys to other modes of travel in the last six months. Details here.

The department of health recommends that adults should be physically active for 30 minutes a day, on five or more days of the week, to benefit health. The pack shows how walking and cycling to work can help people to reach this target. For example, walking one mile in 20 minutes uses as much energy as swimming for 10 minutes, playing football for 12 minutes or doing aerobics for 16 minutes.

The launch of the pack coincides with the National Audit Office's conference, Joining Forces to Tackle Obesity, held on 21st and 22nd January at the Hilton Metropole Hotel, London.

The Walk in to Work Out pack comprises a co-ordinator's guide, a number of booklets for staff, and some posters. Copies of the pack are available free of charge from:

DTLR Free Literature,

PO Box No 236,

Wetherby,

Leeds, LS23 7NB

Tel: 0870 1226 236

Fax: 0870 1226 237

email: dtlr@twoten.press.net

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