The NHS plan to create 10 new housing developments across the UK focused on encouraging residents to eat well, exercise regularly, and live independently into old age.
The towns will have large green areas to encourage exercise, fast food free zones around schools and virtual access to GP services.
The 10 new towns will create more than 76,000 homes with 170,000 residents, completed by 2030. The towns will be in Darlington, Hatton Lea, North Stowe, Bicester, Barton Park, Barking Riverside, Ebbsfleet Garden City, Whitehill, and Bordon and Cranbrook.
The homes will be funded by council budgets and private partners, with the NHS overseeing the entire project.
The head of NHS England Simon Stevens explained that assisted housing provides a “golden opportunity” to promote healthier living within our society and claims we would “kick ourselves” in 10 years time if we didn’t attempt to design out an environment leading to obesity.
“We want children to have places where they want to play with friends and can safely walk or cycle to school, rather than just exercising their fingers on video games. We want to see neighbourhoods and adaptable home designs that make it easier for older people to continue to live independently wherever possible. And we want new ways of providing new types of digitally enabled local health services that share physical infrastructure and staff with schools and community groups” he said.
Inactivity causes 1 in 6 deaths and has an overall economic impact of £7.4 billion.
Mr Stephens finished by saying, “Health must be at the centre of the next tranche of new communities or the country will risk storing up further problems for taxpayers . . . as these communities mature and age”.