Is General Practice Engaged with Physical Activity Promotion?

I read this article in the September 2015 edition of the BJGP, which looks at:

  • Should GPs engage with Physical Activity (PA) promotion?
  • Is general practice already engaged?
  • Main barriers to GP engagement?
  • How can GPs engage?
  • Conclusion.

The article notes how Scotland is moving (slightly) ahead on England and Wales in utilising GPs in a PA role, and also highlights how PA on prescription can be useful (Sweden has been doing it for 30+ years).

Start of Article

The many positive benefits of regular PA and resultant increased cardio-respiratory fitness on improved health are widely acknowledged.  GPs are in a unique position to engage the public in PA given their access across local communities, particularly less healthy populations, older people, and those with lower socio-economic status. and they provide a trusted source of advice. Currently there is a lack of engagement from primary care physicians in following PA promotion clinical guidelines, with barriers against best clinical practice including a lack of time, education and resources. Comprehensive, multi-sectoral strategies are needed to reverse the physical inactivity pandemic. Engaging GPs in PA promotion alone will not reverse current trends. Other approaches that are needed to increase PA levels include: school-based methods that incorporate physical literacy, improved urban design planning, and active transport policies, to name a few.

Read the rest of the article here: Is General Practice Engaged with PA Promotion (Savill, 2015)


Savill, B., Murray, A. & Weiler, R. (2015) Debate and Analysis: Is General Practice Engaged with Physical Activity Promotion? British Journal of General Practice. September 2015, 65(638), pp.484-485.

Swedish National Institute of Public Health @ Physical Activity in the Prevention & Treatment of Disease (Swedish National Institute of Public Health, 2010)


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