New physical activity resource for health professionals

A new resource that will improve conversations about physical activity between patients and healthcare professionals has been launched

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Launching at the International Society for Physical Activity and Health Congress (ISPAH) this week (15 to 17 October 2018), the new digital Moving Medicine tool will help healthcare professionals advise patients on how physical activity can help to manage their conditions, prevent disease and aid recovery.

It is produced by the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (FSEM) in partnership with Public Health England (PHE) and Sport England with support from National Lottery funding.

Currently one in four of the population in England does less than 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week and are classified as inactive.

Physical inactivity is in the top 10 greatest causes of ill health nationally, with negative impacts on health, wellbeing, social and economic outcomes for individuals and communities.

Evidence shows that one in four patients would be more active if advised by a GP or nurse, yet nearly three quarters of GPs do not speak about the benefits of physical activity to patients due to either lack of knowledge, skills or confidence.

The tool focuses on helping to address the most common long term health conditions affecting the population, such as cancer, depression, musculoskeletal pain and type 2 diabetes.

Developed in consultation with over 300 healthcare professionals and patients and using evidence-based step-by-step guidance, Moving Medicine is designed to provide healthcare professionals with the latest evidence to address this knowledge and skills gap in the NHS and support healthier outcomes for patients as a result.

Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social care said:

"There is a mountain of evidence to suggest that patients with all kinds of conditions – from depression to diabetes – would benefit from more exercise, yet understandably those suffering with chronic illness are more likely to be inactive.

"That’s why it’s so important healthcare professionals have the information they need at their fingertips to advise patients with complex health needs on how to get more active – and this doesn’t have to mean joining a gym. It can be doing more of the things we love, whether that’s playing football, swimming or going for long walks. I am delighted to launch this brilliant web tool for healthcare professionals – I hope it will help pave the way for a culture shift in medicine where referrals for exercise are just as common as prescriptions for medication."

Dr Alison Tedstone, Head of Physical Activity at Public Health England, said:

"With millions accessing the NHS every day, healthcare professionals play a vital role in helping people to better understand the benefits of physical activity on their health.

"Taking the time to have these conversations has the power to inspire people to move more and make a big difference to their health."

Dr Paul D Jackson, President, Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (UK) said:

"The development of the Moving Medicine platform has been a truly collaborative effort, drawing on the expertise of many across a wide range of different disciplines and professional bodies as well as medical Royal Colleges, associated charities and patient groups.

"We all believe that introducing more physical activity into every care pathway across the NHS is an essential, cost-effective intervention to improve people’s health. Moving Medicine will ensure that all health care professionals have up to date information on physical activity presented in a useable, easy to understand format, enabling them to inform their patients and motivate them to become more active."

Sarah Ruane, Strategic Lead for Health, Sport England said:

"We know that it can be difficult to fit being active into busy lives. But for people who are dealing with illness or injury the thought of being active can be even more daunting. That’s why healthcare professionals have such a vital role to play.

"Moving Medicine is a simple idea with huge potential to transform the lives of the millions of people who are inactive and living with health conditions. Equipping healthcare professionals with the practical information that they need to have supportive conversations with their patients, will help many more people to experience the range of health benefits that being active can bring."

Moving Medicine is a major component of the Moving Healthcare Professionals Programme, which is designed to support healthcare professionals embed physical activity into their approach to treating patients for common conditions in line with existing National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance.

The resource has been launched at the seventh ISPAH congress in London this week (15 to 17 October 2018), which aims to bring the best minds together to bridge the gap between physical activity research, policy and practice to support healthier nations across the world.

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