COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Pace keeper

Health secretary John Reid, complete with oversized pace counter, unveils the Step-o-meter loan scheme in London's St James's Park. Run jointly by the British Heart Foundation and the Countryside Agency, the Step-o-meter loan scheme is running in 130 primary care trusts across England. Doctors will 'prescribe' the units, which tells wearers how far they have walked, for six to 12 weeks to help them take adequate exercise. The scheme is part of the 'walking the way to health' initiative, a five-year programme launched three years ago to promote walking as part of daily life. According to the British Heart Foundation, coronary heart disease is the biggest killer in the UK but regular physical activity can halve the risk of developing it. The project is targeted at poor-health hotspots, including parts of the north east, north west, West Midlands, South Wales and London.

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