New Active Practice toolkit launched to help GPs encourage physical activity
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New Active Practice toolkit launched to help GPs encourage physical activity

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A new initiative has been launched to encourage more GP practices in the UK take measures to increase activity and reduce sedentary behaviour among their patients and staff.

The new Active Practice Charter is aimed at the UK's 8,000+ GP practices and has been designed to help them raise awareness of the simple changes that patients – and staff – can make to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.

Created in partnership by Sport England and the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), the toolkit follows research which revealed that one in four people would be more active if it was recommended by a GP or nurse.

As part of the initiative, the GPs using the charter to raise the subject of activity with patients can achieve "Active Practice" status.

“Physical activity has a key role to play in helping people manage and improve their health and wellbeing,” said Sport England chief executive Tim Hollingsworth.

“As trusted sources of information, GPs and practice teams have a real opportunity to start discussions that help it become the new normal in their community – for prevention as well as treatment.

“This toolkit will help busy GPs talk to patients about getting active and recommend local opportunities as part of their routine practice.

“We’re delighted to be celebrating those GP practices who are promoting active lifestyles to patients and staff through the Active Practice Charter.”

Dr Andrew Boyd, RCGP clinical champion for physical activity and lifestyle, added: “Busy GPs can’t be expected to do everything when it comes to getting the nation more active, but we can play a vital role in starting the conversation with patients.

“By making small changes in our own workplace – using standing desks, encouraging active transport for staff, and partnering with local physical activity providers, for example – we can demonstrate to patients that being more active is good for everyone’s physical and mental health.”

Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of RCGPs, said: “All GPs know that encouraging patients to be more active can have huge benefits on their health and wellbeing and, in some cases, drastically improve conditions such as diabetes and heart disease – even dementia.

“But having the time to advise patients on lifestyle in the current 10-minute consultation can be a huge challenge, especially when there are often so many other things we need to discuss and when this probably wasn’t the reason the patient has made the appointment – so taking a practice-wide approach to encouraging healthier lifestyles, for all of us, is a great idea.”

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A new charter has been launched to encourage more GP practices in the UK take measures to increase activity and reduce sedentary behaviour among their patients and staff.
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