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Movement or medication

How do you feel about exercise being prescribed by GPs to help with mental health or weight issues, ahead of medication? 

This is one of the many questions raised in the Everyday Health Tracker, a quarterly YouGov report commissioned by Simplyhealth, and the results make for some really interesting reading.

Simplyhealth asked 2,032 UK adults, aged 18 and over, whether they thought GPs should generally prescribe exercise over medication for mental health and/or weight issues, and 75% were in favour.

The research also revealed that nearly three quarters (74%) of people have never had exercise recommended to them by their GP as a way of improving their health.

Only 37% of the population are currently achieving the recommended levels of physical activity on a regular basis, and three in ten of those surveyed admitted to exercising less than once a month. 

On a very positive note, when exercise has been prescribed, people report good results in the majority of cases.  Of those who had been recommended increased exercise by their GP and then went on to do it, only 8% said that it wasn't effective.  As GPs are the most likely health practitioner the public will come into contact with, the survey suggests that if they were to encourage people to exercise more regularly, there could be quite a dramatic impact on the health of the nation.

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