GPs Prescribing Exercise

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The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK (FSEM) welcomes a new bill by the French National Assembly requiring GPs to prescribe exercise for patients with diabetes, cancer or cardiovascular disease via publicly funded sports clubs.

According the World Health Organisation (WHO) physical inactivity is one of the leading risk factors for health and is estimated to attribute to one million deaths (about 10 % of the total), per year in the WHO European Region. More than half of the Region’s population is not active enough to meet health recommendations – 30 minutes/day of moderate activity on most week days.*

Dr Roderick Jaques, President of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK comments: “Addressing the prevention, management and recovery from disease through prescribed exercise provides a fresh approach to avoidable diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and many common musculo-skeletal conditions.

“There is no better place to start this process than in GPs surgeries, where most people go for ongoing advice and treatment. The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine would welcome a similar approach in the UK ensuring that patients are not only screened for physical activity levels at their GP surgeries, but their health and the prevention of disease is actively managed via the therapeutic use of physical activity and exercise.”

The French bill comes at a time when physical inactivity is beginning to be recognised as a key health threat in the UK and across Europe, equivalent to smoking and alcohol abuse**. The trend in the region is towards less activity, whilst non-communicable disease and obesity continues to increase.

Physical activity resources for GPs and health professionals are becoming increasingly available in the UK, following the publication of NICE guidelines in 2013 – Physical Activity Brief Advice for Adults in Primary Care:

• Public Health England has funded a new BMJ e-learning module on physical activity, including the prevention and treatment of many common diseases

• Motivate 2 Move, created in association with the Wales Deanery and Cardiff University, was launched last year to encourage GPs to educate, motivate and encourage patients about the benefits of physical activity.


Follow the twitter conversation – GPs and physical activity using #GPs #prescribeexercise @FSEM_UK


BMJ e-learning modules physical activity

Motivate 2 Move

NICE – Physical Activity Brief Advice for Adults in Primary Care

*10 key facts on physical activity in the WHO European region.

**The FSEM The Nation’s Hidden Health Threat April 2015.

For further information view the FSEM’s Manifesto – Making the Physically Active Choice.

For further evidence of the effectiveness of exercise medicine in treating common diseases and conditions view – A Fresh Approach NHS information documents.

Notes to Editors:

  • The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine was launched in 2006 and is an intercollegiate faculty of the Royal College of Physicians of London and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
  • The Faculty has over 560 Members and Fellows, not including medical students
  • There are around 94 Sport and Exercise Medicine Doctors on the GMC specialist register
  • The FSEM not only sets standards in SEM but oversees research, training, curriculum and assessment of SEM Doctors, including providing revalidation services
  • Sport and Exercise Medicine consultants work in a variety of musculoskeletal and exercise medicine services across NHS primary and secondary care. They also work within sports from the ‘grass routes’ level up to supporting international teams and athletes
  • The specialty has a large scale application in improving the musculoskeletal and physical health of the general public through exercise advice and prescription. Further information about the specialty can be found in the Media & Resources section at

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For further information contact Beth Cameron, PR & Communications for the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine.

Email:, Tel: 0131 527 3498, Mobile: 07551903702