Outdoor activities such as gardening and countryside strolls should be prescribed on the Nation Health Service to help tackle the obesity crisis, council bosses say. Rather than simply prescribing medicines, doctors should consider persuading them to get outdoors as the best medicine for obesity.
A recent survey of patients given green prescriptions in the country found 72 per cent noticed positive changes to their health, 67 per cent improved their diet and more than half felt stronger and fitter.
Some councils, which have responsibility for public health, have already started setting up community gardening programs and family walks, but the Local Government Association ( LGA) has called for a much greater use of the schemes.
There are some instances where rather than prescribing a pill, advising on some type of moderate physical activity outdoors could be far more beneficial to the patient.
This could be going on organized walks, conservation work with a local park group, or gardening at home. The green prescription model is something that could help to tackle major health conditions such as obesity and diabetes. There are already some good examples where this is being piloted in the UK, and it is something we should consider on a nationwide basis.
The Nation Health Service advises that everyone should do 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week. Physical activity has been hailed as a miracle cure which can help to treat and prevent more than 20 lifestyle related diseases.
Studies have shown that regular gardening can reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and obesity. It improves balance, helping to prevent falls in older people – a cause of major costs to the health service.
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