Physical activity: brief advice for adults in primary care

Physical activity: brief advice for adults in primary care

30 May 2013

NICE has published Physical activity; brief guidance for adults in primary care.

This guidance is for commissioners of health services and anyone working in primary care whose remit includes offering lifestyle advice. Examples include: exercise professionals, GPs, health trainers, health visitors, mental health professionals, midwives, pharmacists, practice nurses and physiotherapists. It may also be of interest to others with a role in encouraging physical activity and members of the public.

Inactivity costs the NHS an estimated at £1.06 billion based on national cases of CHD, stroke, diabetes, colorectal cancer and breast cancer (all conditions that are potentially preventable or manageable through physical activity). This is a conservative estimate, given the exclusion of other health problems that physical activity can help manage and prevent. Examples include osteoporosis, falls and hypertension (Allender et al. 2007).

The total cost of inactivity further increases when considering the wider economic costs. These include sickness absence, estimated at £5.5 billion per year, and the premature death of productive people of working age from 'lifestyle-related' diseases, estimated at £1 billion per year (Ossa and Hutton 2002).