Three Members of Parliament named Bupa Fitbug champions

Rt Hon David Davis (Conservative), Simon Wright MP (Liberal Democrat) and Fiona Mactaggart MP (Labour) have won the 'Bupa Fitbug Parliamentary Challenge' on behalf of their parties. Members of Parliament were challenged to walk the most steps over two weeks in the hope of winning a £1,000 Bupa donation to a local charity of their choice.

Thirty seven Members of Parliament from the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties signed up to take part in the competition, which ran between 21 June and 4 July. The three winners walked a combined total of 379,335 steps. Bupa devised the competition to raise awareness of the benefits that taking regular exercise such as walking can have in ensuring a healthy heart and reduced body fat as well as helping people to feel better about themselves.

Rt Hon David Davis, Conservative MP for Haltemprice and Howden, said: "I already enjoy walking, but Bupa's Fitbug Parliamentary Challenge gave me that small extra spurt necessary to catch one fewer buses and walk that one extra mile. I am delighted to have won the challenge and doubly pleased that the £1,000 will go to MacMillan Cancer Support which does so much to help those suffering with cancer in my constituency and across the country."

Simon Wright, Liberal Democrat MP for Norwich South, said: "I enjoyed taking part in Bupa's challenge and making an effort to walk further than I normally would. Walking is a really good way of keeping active. It's easy to do and it gives you an opportunity to take in the world around you. It's not only good for the body, it's good for the mind too. Taking
a few minutes out for a short walk during a busy day can be reinvigorating."

Fiona Mactaggart, Labour MP for Slough, said: "I wanted to take up Bupa's challenge because Slough has such a high incidence of diabetes and I thought I could help my constituents reduce their risk of developing it. My victory was secured when I led a team of volunteers to deliver cards to homes in the Foxborough area of Slough, which used to be in Windsor constituency, to tell my new constituents how to get hold of me. On a lovely sunny day we walked 18,000 steps."

The Fitbug, which was worn by all the candidates, is an 'intelligent pedometer' that monitors the amount of steps a person takes every day. When connected to a computer, users can add in extra details such as what they ate for lunch to calculate total energy intake and output. The programme then generates a health and fitness plan tailored to the individual.

Fergus Kee, managing director, Bupa's UK and North America division, said: "It's great that Members of Parliament are setting a positive example by taking part in the Bupa Fitbug Parliamentary Challenge and I'd like to congratulate all three winners on their success."

Evidence shows that regular exercise, including walking, can:

  • halve the risk of getting type 2 diabetes
  • halve the risk of developing coronary heart disease
  • increase levels of HDL ('good' cholesterol)
  • reduce high blood pressure
  • have beneficial effects if you have arthritis and lower back pain
  • reduce overall risk of cancer, prevent bowel cancer and reduce the risk of breast cancer in women after the menopause
  • help to maintain a healthy weight in combination with a balanced diet
  • reduce the risk of depression and dementia in later life
  • reduce stress and improve sleep

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For more information, visit www.bupa.com.

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