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Stalker: New NICE guidelines will help strengthen activity evidence base

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellent (NICE)’s new guidelines for commissioners regarding exercise on referral schemes have been praised by ukactive for helping to ‘drive forward the evidence base for physical activity.’

Public health is currently a hot topic among leisure providers, with many eager to pick up referrals from GPs prescribing exercise to patients. During a panel discussion at SIBEC 2014, industry experts said that closer ties with local GPs and authorities, together with clearer training pathways, were needed for the leisure sector to become a professional component of public health provision.

Meanwhile, ukactive CEO David Stalker has said that there is “still some way to go“ before the health and leisure sector becomes a cornerstone of local health delivery.

Stalker has, however, welcomed the publication of the new NICE guidelines, which he believes may help physical activity play a bigger role in public health.

"We are pleased that NICE has continued to recognise the importance of having a physically active population,” said Stalker.

“ukactive welcomes any initiative which drives forward the evidence base for physical activity and creates a better platform for local authorities and primary care professionals to invest in programmes which can deliver strong outcomes.”

The NICE document reiterates its support for groups which prioritise the promotion of an active population – such as ukactive – and recommends that local authorities only commission new services which 'collect a minimum data set and make this available for analysis, monitoring and research to inform future practise.'

ukactive welcomed NICE's call for stronger evaluation and data capture, and has tasked its own Research Institute with developing a standardised evidence base for physical activity interventions through its upcoming ‘Promising Practice’ project.

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellent (NICE)’s new guidelines for commissioners regarding exercise on referral schemes have been praised by ukactive as helping to ‘drive forward the evidence base for physical activity.’
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