MORE than 70 per cent of people in York and North Yorkshire are failing to get enough exercise - and those in rural areas are struggling to gain access to sporting opportunities.

Those are two key conclusions of a report published by the charity North Yorkshire Sport into inequalities in sport, and how they should be tackled.

Chief executive David Watson said North Yorkshire's rurality was its 'greatest gift and curse,' providing outstanding landscapes and quality of life but also presenting huge burdens to people trying to deliver services equally.

He said: "Tackling the levels and types of disadvantage and inequalities in York and North Yorkshire is going to take strong partnerships, imaginative solutions and efficient resourcing."

The report said the number of physically active people was recorded through the 'Active People Survey', and the number completing three 30 minute sessions of organised sport had increased in recent years in the region, but 71 per cent still didn't take part in enough exercise to meet Government guidelines.

It said North Yorkshire Sport was encouraging people to make better use of the area's parks and countryside through sport and physical activity, and was launching a 'workplace challenge' website to engage employees in getting more active as part of their daily working routine. It was also taking steps to ensure more people with disabilities took part in sport.

The report was launched at York College as scores of students from the college, and also from Selby College and Askham Bryan College, prepared to take part in workshops in sport and leadership prior to assisting at a School Games event on March 21 at the University of York University.

The Lord Mayor of York, Coun Julie Gunnell, spoke of sport's ability to bring people together in times of adversity.

She said: "That's the beauty of sport - it's open to anyone and everyone."