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Could only £23 per person help tackle obesity crisis Group cycling_southport014 Full view

Could only £23 per person help tackle obesity crisis

New research by Cycling UK has revealed it could cost as little as £23 per person to ease the burden of obesity-related illnesses on the health service. 
Every year, the NHS spends around £5.1bn treating illnesses directly attributable to obesity – that’s around £77 per person in the UK. By contrast, a cycling development project run by Cycling UK, and funded by the Department for Transport, resulted in 18,500 people cycling more regularly in England last year – for a cost of only £23.81 per person.

The DfT has announced it will be funding the Big Bike Revival project for a fourth year, with a £500,000 grant.

Paul Tuohy, Chief Executive of Cycling UK, said: “It’s incredible that for only £23 a person, we can get more people cycling and tackle a health crisis that’s costing the NHS billions of pounds every year. The Big Bike Revival represents incredible value for money, and I’m delighted that the Department for Transport has recognised the significance of the project by funding it for another year so we can get more people cycling every day.

“It’s not only the health benefits. More people cycling can only have a positive impact on our environment. Every year, it’s estimated that air pollutions costs the UK economy up to £10 billion, so it also has a big environmental and financial impact.”

Cycling Minister Jesse Norman confirmed the funding announcement as part of a £7m Government investment in projects to improve road safety, helping create more bike-friendly areas.

He said: “Everyone should be able to take advantage of the huge health and environmental benefits of cycling.

“While Britain has some of the safest roads in the world, we want to encourage more people to take up cycling. This funding, as part of our overall cycling and walking strategy, will help local councils to make their roads safer for everyone.”

In England, physical inactivity causes around 37,000 preventable premature deaths every year among people aged between 40 and 79.

But sadly, cycling accounts for only two per cent of all journeys in England, a level that has remained static since 1989. according to the Government’s latest walking and cycling statistics.

Paul Tuohy added: “The Big Bike Revival is an important project precisely because it encourages those people who are not necessarily naturally inclined to get on their bikes.

“We not only enable people to get their unused bikes back into working order with free cycle checks, servicing and cycle maintenance, but we provide training and accompanied rides to help people build confidence cycling.”

In 2017, events were held in 136 locations, with 37 per cent of people taking part coming from the most deprived areas of the country.

As well as developing more regular cyclists, around 45 per cent of those who participated said they now felt safer cycling.

Community cycling activities were already being run in Southampton, Essex, Sefton and West Yorkshire in association with the local authorities, but last year additional cycle officers were appointed in:

  • North and South Yorkshire
  • Portsmouth
  • Newcastle
  • Greater Manchester
  • West Midlands
  • Liverpool City Region
  • Birmingham

Contact information 

For more information contact the national Cycling UK Press Office on 01483 238 315, 07786 320 713 or email

Written by Gather

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