Hearts chief Ann Budge hosts conference on health and wellbeing

Heart of Midlothian FC owner Ann Budge opened a groundbreaking two-day conference, Changing the Game, yesterday aimed at examining how sport can be better used to improve the nation’s health and wellbeing.

Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 6:00 am
Hearts chief executive Ann Budge during a press conference at Tynecastle Park. (Photo by Bill Murray / SNS Group)

The football chief welcomed people from all levels including the Scottish Government, health, education, leisure, sport and communities to Tynecastle Stadium in Edinburgh.

The Observatory for Sport in Scotland (OSS) event includes talks from Remco Hoekman and Henrik Brandt, the directors of similar research institutes in Holland and Denmark, who will talk about the ways in which their countries set about improving a nation’s fitness levels.

Mrs Budge, said: “We are delighted to host this event at Tynecastle Park because, as a club, we believe our own objectives are very closely aligned to those of the Observatory. Like many football clubs we have focused heavily in recent years on trying to improve the lives of people in every part of our community by encouraging their participation in our community focused activities. Much of that focus, although not all, has been driven by sport.

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“I am a passionate believer that sport can and should be available to all, particularly from a young age, and while what the first team does on the pitch tends to attract all the headlines, we are working hard at Hearts to grow this club from its roots and across the whole community. Key to that growth and development is research, and understanding behaviours.”

Last week a study by the World Health Organisation reported the majority of adolescents were not sufficiently active and were putting their current and future health at risk.

The report, published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health Journal, found that more than 80 per cent of school-going adolescents globally (85 per cent of girls and 78 per cent of boys) did not meet current recommendations of at least one hour of physical activity per day. According to research carried out by the Observatory for Sport in Scotland (OSS) – an institute which aims to gather data on which policy can be built – the number of people engaging in physical activity hasn’t changed since 2007.

“We are among the worst for physical activity in the developed world, have the lowest life expectancy in the UK and are the only UK country where life expectancy suffered a tiny drop last year,” says David Ferguson, executive director of the OSS.