Fit for the future

The health benefits of physical activity in managing and preventing chronic conditions have been highlighted in a recent Health Select Committee report. Awareness among healthcare professionals is low, but nurse-led projects are popular and effective, with one project ‘transforming’ cancer survivors’ lives.

Being physically active might help to stop the pounds piling on, but its benefits go far beyond weight management.

That is the core message of a Health Select Committee report looking at the impact of physical activity and diet on health. Published in March, the report points to ‘compelling evidence’ that physical activity has ‘huge health benefits totally independent of a person’s weight’ ( tinyurl.com/owygpaa ).

The report highlights recent research, which suggests that increasing physical activity could have a greater effect on reducing mortality risk than losing weight. The MPs also cite evidence that regular physical activity helps prevent and manage more than 20 chronic conditions, including coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, obesity, mental health problems and musculoskeletal conditions.

They call on the NHS, local authorities and the government to work together to tackle poor diet and physical inactivity. In particular, physical


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