Practice nurses and GPs need to do more to identify sedentary adults and encourage them to be more active, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
NICE has published guidance to encourage people working in primary care to identify inactive adults during consultations and offer them brief advice.
For example, it recommends that primary care practitioners should not rely on visual clues such as body weight to identify adults who are inactive, but use a questionnaire that has been shown to be accurate, such as the GP Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPPAQx).
When encouraging adults assessed as being inactive to do more physical activity, advice should be tailored to the person, noting their health status, motivations and goals, current level of activity and ability, circumstances, preferences and any barriers preventing them from being physically active.
The chief medical officers’ current recommendations for physical activity are that adults, aged 19-64, should be doing at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity over a week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more.
Professor Mike Kelly, NICE director of public health, said: “Most adults are simply not active enough. We know this can contribute to a great number of health problems which reduce people’s quality of life and shorten lives.
“If family doctors and practice nurses follow this new guidance, it will help them deliver simple, sensible advice to people, and it will support patients to increase their physical activity levels and improve their lives.”
Dr Matt Kearney, primary care and public health advisor to NHS England and a member of the NICE public health interventions advisory committee that developed the guidance, said: “This guidance offers practical advice to people working in busy clinics and will help us to give straight-forward advice to people who need to improve their levels of physical activity.”
- Physical activity: brief advice for adults in primary care (NICE guidance)