Healthy weight Keep active - information page and factsheet

Overweight and obesity in Reading is a serious public health concern, which has a significant impact on people's physical health, emotional wellbeing and reduces life expectancy by an average of 8-10 years.

Excess weight is strongly linked to a person's risk of developing serious long-term conditions such as Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer.

There are lots of opportunites in Reading to choose a healthy, active lifestyle and get the support you need to be a healthy weight throughout your life.

Please check the details of local provision (linked below) to find out where you can get support.

We have also produced a factsheet that can be downloaded and printed and give a brief description of the services that can support you keep healthy and active.  Please click here to download the Healthy Weight Factsheet.

Brisk Walking - why is it good for your health ?

Middle aged health at risk as six million do not even manage a brisk ten minute walk each month

  • Four out of ten (41%) adults aged 40–60 in England walk less than ten minutes continuously each month at a brisk pace[i]
  • New evidence paper shows ten minutes of walking at a brisk intensity each day can help prevent cancer, heart disease and poor mental health[ii]
  • Physical inactivity amongst adults contributes to one in six deaths in the UK[iii] and is costing the NHS over £0.9 billion per year[iv]
  • Public Health England launches new One You physical activity campaign to encourage people to do brisk 10 minute walks with Active 10 app

Over 6.3 million adults aged 40–60 do not achieve ten minutes of continuous brisk walking over the course of a month and are missing out on important health benefits, according to a new evidence paper from Public Health England (PHE).2  

The findings also reveal how lifestyles have changed over time, showing that people in the UK are 20% less active now than they were in the 1960s[v] and on average walk 15 miles less a year than two decades ago.[vi] The sedentary nature of modern, busy lives makes it difficult for many to find the time for enough exercise to benefit their health.

PHE’s new One You physical activity campaign is encouraging adults to build 10 minutes continuous brisk walking into their day as a simple way to improve their health. The ‘Active 10’ app has been developed to show how much brisk walking a person is doing each day and how to incorporate more of it into their lifestyles.

Taking at least one brisk ten minute walk a day has been shown to reduce the risk of early death by 15%.2 Getting enough physical activity[1] each week can also provide health benefits including a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes (by 40%), cardiovascular disease (by 35%), dementia (by 30%) and some cancers (by 20%).2

The severity of the current physical inactivity epidemic amongst adults contributes to one in six deaths in the UK3 and is costing the NHS over £0.9 billion per year.4

Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Medical Director at PHE, said:

“I know first hand that juggling the priorities of everyday life often means exercise takes a back seat.

“Walking to the shops instead of driving or going for a brisk ten minute walk on your lunch break each day can add many healthy years to your life. The Active 10 app is a free and easy way to help anyone build more brisk walking into their daily routine.”

The free app combines walking intensity and time, rather than just distance or steps and is the first of its kind. It helps people gradually introduce more activity into their daily routine, with goal setting advice and motivational tips. It has already helped 50,000 adults get more active.

Professor Sir Muir Gray, Clinical Adviser for the Active 10 app and the One You campaign, said:

“We all know physical activity is good for your health, but for the first time we’re seeing the effects that easily achievable changes can make. By walking just 10 continuous minutes at a brisk pace every day, an individual can reduce their risk of early death by 15%. They can also prevent or delay the onset of disability and further reduce their risk of serious health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia and some cancers”

GPs across the country are recommending it to their own patients as a tool to help them manage existing conditions and prevent the negative health impact of inactivity.  

Dr Zoe Williams, GP and Clinical Champion for Physical Activity and Lifestyle at the RCGP, said:

“As GPs we’re best placed to talk to people about how their lifestyles affect their health. Every GP should talk to their patients about the benefits of brisk walking and recommend the Active 10 app. It’s the first free app of its kind and an easy, accessible way to make brisk walking a daily habit.”

The Active 10 app was developed by Public Health England in collaboration with The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and the National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine.

Search ‘Active 10’ to download the free app which shows how much brisk walking you are currently doing and provides tips and encouragement on how to fit ten minute bursts of brisk walking into your daily routine.

[1] To stay healthy, the Chief Medical Officer advises adults aged 19-64 to do 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week. This should consist of a mix of aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking, and strengthening exercises on at least two days a week.

[i] Public Health England, Active Lives, 2015/16

[ii] Public Health England, Health benefits of 10 minutes brisk walking each day in mid-life, Evidence summary

[iii] Lee I-M, et al. (2012) Effect of physical inactivity on major non-communicable diseases worldwide: an analysis of burden of disease and life expectancy. The Lancet 380: 219–29

[iv] Scarborough P, Bhatnagar P, Wickramasinghe KK, Allender S, Foster C, Rayner M (2011) The economic burden of ill health due to diet, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol and obesity in the UK: an update to 2006–07 NHS costs. Journal of Public Health 33 (4): 527-53

[v] Ng SW, Popkin B (2012) Time Use and Physical Activity: a shift away from movement across the globe. Obesity Review 13(8):659-80

[vi] Department Department for Transport. National Travel Survey 2015. Available at:

One You Couch to 5K App

We are re-launching our famous One You Couch to 5K app in partnership with BBC Get Inspired.
The One You Couch to 5k app has been designed to get you off the couch and running in just 9 weeks. There is now a choice of 5 trainers to support and motivate you every step of the way, telling you when to walk and when to run.

Laura, our trainer brought back by popular demand, has helped hundreds of thousands of people start their running journeys through the NHS Choices Podcast programme. Alongside Laura, there are also four celebrity trainers - Olympian Michael Johnson, comedians Sarah Millican and Sanjeev Kohli, and BBC presenter Jo Whiley. 
The BBC will be promoting this heavily from today, and Public Health England will be supporting with activity on Facebook and through our One You and Start 4 Life channels. Please share the BBC video featuring Laura , and our One You activity on Twitter and  Facebook.   
With recent Sport Relief activity, the upcoming London marathon and spring on its way, now is a great opportunity to promote the One You Couch to 5k app in your areas.
The app can be downloaded by searching for ‘One You Couch to 5k’ in the Apple or Google Play stores.

Local Activities in Reading

Healthwise – 12 weeks free programme, providing support around diet and nutrition and access to leisure facilities to support increased activity. Group support so you can make the journey towards a healthier you together. To You’ll need to be age 16 plus and a BMI of over 30.

Better Health - GLL offers a free health programme, helping weight management and improving a healthier lifestyle. The programme can be accessed via a referral from a GP and comprises weekly two-hour group sessions over 12 weeks, at the Better leisure facilities in Reading. 

Some of the main features of the health plan include workshops on healthy eating, supervised gym sessions, free access to online classes and much more. You can find the full benefits of the programme here -

Slimming World – 12 weeks free access to slimming world groups either in person at one of many centres or online if you prefer. An eligibility criteria applies. For more information please go to

Check your body mass index (BMI) If you are not sure what your BMI is and to learn more about it, please go to NHS BMI Calculator page: BMI calculator | Check your BMI - NHS | Please fill in your details (

Park Runs - Why not sign up for the free Park RunsOpens new window locally?

Better Health

Better Health

Making small, simple changes to what and how much you are eating and drinking can really help you lose the extra weight and improve your overall health and wellbeing. See

  • Weight loss plan – why not down load a free weight loss plan to get you started
  • Food –Smart shopping tips, easy swaps to reduce sugar, fat and salt in yours and your families diet
  • Tasty Recipe ideas – why not get some inspiration for tasty and nutritious quick meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner and food for on the go!



Page last reviewed: 12/01/2023

Contact the Team

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SEND Local Offer 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2

Adult & Carers Support 0118 937 3747 0118 937 3747
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