The proposal also calls for schools and employers to encourage "active travel", by creating new walking and cycle routes, re-allocating parking places to cyclists and introducing more speed humps and other traffic calming measures.
The flab-fighting proposals drawn up by officials at the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), also recommends marking out playgrounds with different coloured areas, to "encourage varied, physically active play by creating zones for different types of activity such as traditional (and other) individual and team games."
The guidance was approved by Nice's board last week and is to be sent to planning offices across the country over the next few days. Nice has already suggested that pedometers could be made available on the NHS and has backed "exercise referral schemes" which introduce fat patients to personal trainers.
The guidance encourages motorists to drive less with a raft of new policies that include widening pavements and establishing more cycle lanes. Nice also aims to persuade more employers to provide showers and changing facilities in offices, to get more staff to cycle to work. Park keepers and designers are advised to do more to entice the public into being more active, by "ensuring public spaces - including public parks and coastal and forest paths - encourage people to be more active".
Architects and designers of public buildings are told to "ensure staircases are clearly signposted and attractive to use, well-lit and well-decorated. The guidance also mentions "green gyms," i.e. gardening groups designed to make the overweight burn calories. The Government is increasingly concerned by what is perceived as a escalating obesity epidemic. Earlier this year, Nice published research that claimed nearly 700,000 people in Britain are morbidly obese.
"Physical activity not only contributes to wellbeing, it is essential for good health. Increasing activity levels will help prevent and manage over 20 conditions and diseases including coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity. It can also improve mental health," the Telegraph quoted Nice, as stating.