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How does an active lifestyle help mental health? Can we be ‘nudged’ to be more active? Lords Committee to quiz experts

19 January 2021

The House of Lords Committee on a National Plan for Sport and Recreation will this week hold evidence sessions on the impact of physical activity on mental health and how people can be encouraged to change their behaviour to be more active.

The Committee will hear from the Behavioural Insights Team and leading academics on how people can be encouraged and supported to be more active, and then from Mind and Sport in Mind on the impact of physical activity and mental health.

The evidence sessions will start at 3:30pm on Wednesday 20 January. The witnesses giving evidence to the Committee will be:


  • Dr Kathryn Atherton, Advisor, Behavioural Insights Team,
  • Professor Kim Edwards, Professor of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition Education, University of Nottingham
  • Professor Dame Theresa Marteau, Director of Behaviour and Health Research Unit, University of Cambridge


  • Hayley Jarvis, Head of Physical Activity, Mind
  • Paul Owen OBE, Sporting Ambassador, Sport in Mind
  • Chris Wilkins, Co-founder, Sporting Memories Foundation

In the first session the Committee will ask the witnesses how effective government behaviour change campaigns have been in encouraging people to be more active, whether the PE national curriculum is effective in fostering an active and healthy lifestyle among children, and what more can be done to prevent people giving up on sport at key ‘life moments’ such as leaving school or starting work.

The second session will see questions on how the impact of physical activity on mental wellbeing can be measured, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and physical activity, and the options for prescribing exercise to treat mental health.

The sessions will be available to watch live and on demand on Parliament TV

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