GPs should capitalise on Olympic enthusiasm by encouraging exercise

GPs should capitalise Olympics enthusiasm to encourage patients to take up physical activity, the head of Scotland's health improvement agency has said.

Scotland's physical activity champion, GP Dr Andrew Murray, carries the Olympic torch
Scotland's physical activity champion, GP Dr Andrew Murray, carries the Olympic torch

Gerry McLaughlin, chief executive of NHS Health Scotland said NHS staff should use the games as a way of opening up discussions about exercise with patients.

‘The Olympics and 2014 Commonwealth Games are an ideal opportunity to encourage health staff to discuss physical activity with patients,’ he said.

NHS Health Scotland has launched a set of e-learning modules to help staff to raise the issue of physical activity, and motivate people to become more active.

Aberdeen GP Dr Andrew Murray, physical activity champion for the Scottish government, said health professionals need to know when and how to have conversations about physical activity.

‘Regular exercise is a protective factor from diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers and is a major contributor to overall health and well-being and quality of life,’ he said.

‘It is absolutely essential that people are active and even a moderate amount of activity can prolong your life.'

NHS Education for Scotland said the link between physical activity and health was so strong that it was looking to embed resources to support physical activity in all relevant training.

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