Call for more use of exercise-based medical treatment

With Britain basking in the success of Team GB at the London Olympic Games, a report from the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has argued that more must still be done to make use of exercise-based treatments by those in the medical profession.

The report, published in July just ahead of the Games, highlighted that there is a lack of awareness of and appropriate training for health professionals in the benefits of exercise-based treatments, yet physical activity can be used as part of treatment for a wide range of chronic diseases.

To this end, the report called for the NHS to consider adding physical activity to its Quality and Outcomes Framework, which rewards GPs for how well they care for patients.

It also urged the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and the NHS to update its chronic disease guidelines with detailed information about exercise, and evaluate the best way to deliver exercise treatments through the NHS.

Findings from high-quality sports science could both help improve the performance of elite athletes as well as provide the basis for translational research in benefits for the wider public, added the report.

Lord Krebs, committee chairman, said: “The London Olympics present a unique opportunity to improve public health and improve understanding of the benefits of physical activity both by the public and healthcare professionals. Our concern is that this opportunity could be lost. We find it extremely disappointing that so few London GPs are even aware of the chief medical officers’ physical activity guidelines.”

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