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GP’s should act as ‘physical activity role models’ says PHE



GPs should become ‘physical activity role models’ to make it easier to discuss physical activity with their patients, Government guidance has recommended.

Public Health England’s new guidance – ‘Health matters: getting every adult active every day’ – claims that ’one in four patients would be more active if advised by a GP or nurse’, using statistics from the 2007 ‘Health Survey of England’.

It recommends that healthcare professionals should improve their own activity levels.

It said: ’Healthcare professionals can have an impact on an individual level by… becoming a physical activity role model; increasing your own activity levels will improve your own health and make it easier for you to discuss physical activity with other people.’

The guidance highlighted the ‘appropriate way’ in which GPs could identify a patient and urged health workers to use their ‘professional judgement’ instead of relying on visual cues, including using the General Practice Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPPAQ). 

PHE recommends that adults age 19-64 should complete up to 150 minutes of exercise a day and should take up muscle-strengthening exercises such as yoga and ‘carrying shopping’.

The call for GPs to be more involved in patient’s physical health comes after NICE’s report ‘Physical activity: brief advice for adults in primary care’, which recommended that those working in primary care should identify adults who are not currently meeting the UK physical activity guidelines.