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July 7, 2004 12:00 AM

Ahead of his visit to Leicester South on Thursday, Don Foster MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary today revealed new details of Liberal Democrat sports policy proposals intended for the next General Election.

Commenting, Don Foster MP, said:

"Sport matters to people. Britain has over 110,000 amateur sports clubs with over 5 million members, and many more people enjoy both watching and playing sport as part of their daily lives.

"Health is a particularly important issue, with over 30,000 deaths a year in England due to obesity. Physical inactivity is a key cause of obesity and costs the nation £8.2bn each year.

"New figures released last week show that adult physical activity is declining for the first time since the records began in 1987. My analysis shows that by 2020, 70% of women will do no exercise besides walking.

"It's important to nip the obesity epidemic in the bud. We need to give children the opportunity to sample a range of sports and link schools to sports clubs so they can find an activity they like and continue playing after leaving school.

"It's not only sport that prevents obesity - a healthy lifestyle is also crucial. My research shows that if all the children driven less than a mile to school were to walk instead they would collectively shed the equivalent of 30,000 John Prescotts!"