NORTHWICH is being challenged to become the first active town in the UK.

Town councillors were asked to join Active Cheshire in their mission to get more people more active more often at their latest meeting.

The council was given a presentation by Charles Mains, Active Cheshire's strategic lead for physical activity and health, about the charity's 18-month project to put a strategy in place that will eradicate physical inactivity in west Cheshire.

Speaking to the council Charles said: "My challenge to you is can Northwich become an active town?

"Can it become the first active town in the UK?"

He explained that research revealed indicators of health deprivation in the Northwich area.

Life expectancy in the Winnington and Castle area is 77-and-a-half years, which is six years less than life expectancy in the Marbury area.

He said that 22 per cent of Year Six children in Witton and Rudheath are obese and that 44 per cent of Greenbank people are inactive.

"There has got to be behaviour change," Charles said.

Active Cheshire has consulted more than 2,000 people in the county as part of its Active People Survey to find out about levels of activity and what can be done to encourage more.

"We can't just tell people to go running, it's far more complex than that," Charles said.

"What we need to do is understand the reasons as to why people are inactive – it's a global problem."

He said there were opportunities in Northwich because of the amount of green space that could be made available for people to enjoy and said that Active Cheshire wants to work with the town council as town planners.

Cllr Sam Naylor, also a councillor for Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: "I've been so passionate about sport for the whole of my life and I believe particularly in getting kids involved in sport.

"I think it's just as important as teaching them to read and write."

He added: "Obesity is such a phenomenal draw on the resources of this country in terms of NHS provision."

Cllr Derek Bowden said: "There has never been in this chamber a more important topic.

"It's as simple as that."