GPs Prescribing Exercise

by Garreth
FSEM-website-logoThe Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK (FSEM) welcomes a new bill by the French National Assembly requiring GPs to prescribe exercise for patients with diabetes, cancer or cardiovascular disease via publicly funded sports clubs.

According the World Health Organisation (WHO) physical inactivity is one of the leading risk factors for health and is estimated to attribute to one million deaths (about 10 % of the total), per year in the WHO European Region. More than half of the Region’s population is not active enough to meet health recommendations – 30 minutes/day of moderate activity on most week days.*

Dr Roderick Jaques, President of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK comments:
Addressing the prevention, management and recovery from disease through prescribed exercise provides a fresh approach to avoidable diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and many common musculo-skeletal conditions.

“There is no better place to start this process than in GPs surgeries, where most people go for ongoing advice and treatment. The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine would welcome a similar approach in the UK ensuring that patients are not only screened for physical activity levels at their GP surgeries, but their health and the prevention of disease is actively managed via the therapeutic use of physical activity and exercise.”

The French bill comes at a time when physical inactivity is beginning to be recognised as a key health threat in the UK and across Europe, equivalent to smoking and alcohol abuse**. The trend in the region is towards less activity, whilst non-communicable disease and obesity continues to increase.

Physical activity resources for GPs and health professionals are becoming increasingly available in the UK, following the publication of NICE guidelines in
2013 –  Physical Activity Brief Advice for Adults in Primary Care:

  • Public Health England has funded a new BMJ e-learning module on physical activity, including the prevention and treatment of many common diseases
  • Motivate 2 Move, created in association with the Wales Deanery and Cardiff University, was launched last year to encourage GPs to educate, motivate and encourage patients about the benefits of physical activity


*10 key facts on physical activity in the WHO European region.
**The FSEM The Nation’s Hidden Health Threat April 2015.

BMJ e-learning modules physical activity
Motivate 2 Move
NICE – Physical Activity Brief Advice for Adults in Primary Care
For further information view the FSEM’s Manifesto – Making the Physically Active Choice.
For further evidence of the effectiveness of exercise medicine in treating common diseases and conditions view –A Fresh Approach NHS information documents.
Follow the twitter conversation – GPs and physical activity using #GPs #prescribeexercise @FSEM_UK

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