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Active lifestyles

Practice nurses should be encouraging patients to adopt a more active lifestyle says a new Government report called ‘At Least Five a Week’.

The report claims that up to two thirds of men and three quarters of women do not take enough physical activity. Smoking and unhealthy diet have long been established as major causal factors for chronic disease but inactive living is equally to blame. A quarter of adults and six per cent of 2-20 year olds are now obese.

The report recommends:

  • People need to take between 45-60 minutes a day of moderate intensity physical activity to reduce their risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and the risk of early death by about 20-30%.

  • For general health benefit adults should achieve at total of at least 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity physical activity on five or more days a week.

  • Children and young people should achieve a total of at least 60 minutes of at least moderate intensity physical activity a day.

The daily activity can be achieved in one session or through shorter bouts of activity of 10 minutes or more. An adult for example may take a daily brisk walk or cycle to work and children could be encouraged to walk to school in addition to doing two or three weekly leisure activities such as swimming, football or gym. People should make the most of small opportunities to be active such as using stairs and doing the gardening.

The report ‘At Least Five a Week: Evidence on the impact of physical activity and its relationship to health’ by Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson, can be downloaded from

Department of Health

This report will be considered by monsters when they draw up the forthcoming White Paper on Public Health. A public consultation called ‘Choosing Health? Choosing Activity’ on how to increase exercise currently underway can be downloaded from

www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/08/17/12/04081712.pdf

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