Save our swimming pools, urge doctors

DOCTORS yesterday called on councils to stop closing local swimming pools and invest in community sports facilities.

The British Medical Association has thrown its weight behind calls for an expansion of community sports provision in a bid to boost activity levels and combat rising obesity rates.

Doctors also want alcohol advertising banned and a minimum price introduced to stop people drinking too much.

They have called for a minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol, echoing demands from England’s chief medical officer earlier this year.

The save our swimming pools plea follows the closure of pools in St David’s and Treherbert in the face of widespread public opposition.

St David’s was closed last month and a new sports hall will be built on site. Treherbert swimming pool closed earlier this year in a £200,000 cost-cutting exercise.

Dr Richard Lewis, the BMA’s Welsh secretary, said: “If we are serious about encouraging people to lead healthier lifestyles and do more sports and exercise then we have to have sufficient facilities.

“It is an absolute travesty that we’re seeing swimming pools within Wales being closed down and others that are either not big enough or not of high enough standard to support the community.

“A lot more needs to be done to develop the swimming facilities that we currently have.”

The BMA, at its annual meeting in Liverpool yesterday, also called for the expansion of safe cycle paths and networks and action to ensure all local sports halls are open to everyone.

Doctors also want to see children encouraged to play football and other active games in school playgrounds. They claim such moves will improve public health and fitness and tackle obesity.

Wales has some of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the world with 22% of 13-year-old boys and 16% of girls classed as overweight or obese.

The latest figures show that 57% of adults are classed as overweight or obese in Wales.

Figures also reveal that only 30% of adults meet the 30-minutes-a-day, on five or more days a week, activity target, while a staggering 34% of adults do not achieve 30 minutes of activity on any day.

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