Skip to navigation Skip to site search Skip to main content Skip to footer

2013

Shona Robison MSP visits high intensity training researchers at Abertay

27 September 2013

Shona Robison, Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, visited Abertay University on Friday, September 27th to find out how High Intensity Training (HIT) could be used to improve Scotland’s health.

With the Commonwealth Games just around the corner, and the challenge ahead of ensuring that they leave the legacy of an active and healthy population, the research team at Abertay explained that there is real potential for HIT to help achieve that aim.

Scotland has one of the worst obesity records in the developed world, with almost 1.5 million people at risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke as a result.

There is eight years of evidence which shows that HIT has a significant impact on obesity, diabetes and heart disease, and there is a clear relationship between the intensity of exercise and the magnitude of health improvement.

The Chief Medical Officer currently recommends that people should take 30 minutes of activity five days a week to improve their health.

Abertay is the only university in Scotland where research into HIT is carried out, and Ms Robison was given a demonstration of the regime during her visit, met with participants in the team’s most recent research, and heard how it could be used to make Scotland more healthy.

Dr John Babraj, Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Physiology, and lead researcher into HIT at Abertay University, said:

"30-second, 15-second, and now six-second bursts of high-intensity exercise have shown improvements in health indicators of all kinds, and it is now widely accepted within the scientific community that just one minute of High Intensity Training three times a week improves fitness and reduces the risk of disease in people of all ages.

"We are keen to share this knowledge with as many people as possible, as there is real potential for high-intensity training to help improve Scotland's health."

Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport Shona Robison said:

“Regular activity is one of the best things we can do for our health - being active protects against obesity and heart disease and add years of quality life. I want to make physical activity a routine, normal part of everyday lives and we will hold Scotland’s first ever national Physical Activity Awareness Week next spring 2014. While High Intensity Training may provide some health benefits, the Chief Medical Officer currently recommends that people should take 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week to improve their health. It was great to meet the Abertay team and research participants today to hear more about the results of their trials.”

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact Kirsty Cameron T: 01382 308935 M: 07972172158 E: k.cameron@abertay.ac.uk

Notes to Editors:

  • Abertay is the only university in Scotland where research into HIT is carried out
  • Dr John Babraj published the first major paper demonstrating that HIT improves insulin sensitivity (the ability of insulin to clear glucose from the bloodstream) and aerobic fitness in sedentary people.
  • Scotland has one of the worst obesity records in the developed world (Source: Scottish Health Survey Obesity Topic Report, 2011).
  • The Scottish population is currently 5,313,600 so nearly 1.5 million people are obese.
  • It is predicted that by 2030, adult obesity rates in Scotland could reach over 40% even with current health improvement efforts (Source: Preventing overweight and obesity in Scotland: A Route Map Towards Healthy Weight. 2010).

4.5 The scale of change required for both diet and physical activity to reduce obesity across the population cannot rely on individual behaviour change alone. We need to act at the population level so that these changes become the norm in Scottish society.

4.6 There is little evidence of such society-wide change from across the world which can be used to guide a cross-government approach, although this is an aspiration in the majority of OECD countries.

  • The total cost to NHS Scotland of obesity in 2007/2008 was in excess of £175 million (approx. 2% of the budget allocated to NHS Boards), of which £4.5 million was associated with drugs for obesity (Source: Preventing overweight and obesity in Scotland: A Route Map Towards Healthy Weight. 2010).
  • The majority of costs were associated with the consequences of obesity. For example, type 2 diabetes cost £48 million and hypertension cost £38 million (Source: Preventing overweight and obesity in Scotland: A Route Map Towards Healthy Weight. 2010).
Back to News