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GPs told to prescribe exercise to unfit patients

By Lilian Anekwe

GPs are being encouraged to prescribe patients exercise, in the latest Government drive to tackle the UK's obesity crisis.

The Department of Health is launching a new initiative, called Be Active, Be Healthy, to increase the nation's level of physical activity – by entering into partnerships with private and voluntary organisations to get people moving in their local communities.

GPs will also be expected to offer adopt a ‘yes we can' approach, Health Minister Dawn Primorolo announced today, and take responsibility making sure patients meet the 30 minutes of daily exercise target set by the chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson.

GPs will be asked to give brief advice on getting fit to patients – and to prescribe physical activities ‘just as readily as drugs'.

‘Physical activity is the key to stopping this country becoming the obesity capital of the world - and it makes us feel better. People of all ages can gain from doing more exercise but not enough of us do the magic 30 minutes, five days a week.

‘We have to remove the "no, you can't" messages across communities to create a "yes, you can" culture - with more support, more encouragement and more opportunities across communities to get people active.'

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