Health & Inactivity 2020
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
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HEALTH AND INACTIVITY 2020
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
30TH APRIL 2020
ROYAL SOCIETY OF MEDICINE

The "All Our Health" strategy was a call to action to for healthcare professionals working with patients and the population to prevent illness, protect health and promote wellbeing. It also applies to all personnel across Local Authorities and the wider sectors challenged with providing preventative health measures and achieving public health outcomes.

It provided a framework for action on improving health and reducing health inequalities, for individuals across local communities as well as larger populations such as cities and regions.

"All Our Health" sought to encourage moving away from a focus on just treating ill health, and instead making a difference to society and reducing the health inequality gap.

The Secretary of state for Health and Social Care has made prevention one of his early priorities for the NHS and Social care, in his vision document "Prevention is better than cure" published on the 5th of November 2018. The long term funding settlement for the NHS, the largest single cash injection for the NHS ever which will provide an extra £20.5 billion a year by the end of the next five years, and give the sector a unique opportunity to radically change the focus of health and social care onto prevention, with physical activity being a major component of that change.

Produced in partnership with Public Health England and Sport England with support from National Lottery funding, the new Moving Medicine resources aimed at doctors, nurses and physiotherapists will help these and other healthcare professionals advise patients on how physical activity can help to manage their conditions, prevent disease and aid recovery.

Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health & Social Care "There is a mountain of evidence to suggest that patients with all kinds of conditions - from depression to diabetes - would benefit from more exercise, yet understandably those suffering with chronic illness are more likely to be inactive"

In England, people are living longer, but often in poorer health. And we also know that in poorer parts of the country people have lower life expectancy and fewer years of living in good health.

Front-line professionals understand more than anyone about the pressures of increasing demand on health and social care at the same time as tighter budgets. Managing this demand is part of the day to day work of surgeries, clinics and wards across the country. Debates on how to best approach these issues have often focused on how we run our services but it’s now widely accepted that preventing people becoming ill in the first place – protecting or improving their health before they need treatment – has a massive part to play. The importance of healthcare professionals having the information that our conference and the resources being shared on the day will seek to provide them with at their fingertips, to advise patients with complex health needs on how to get more active has never been more crucial.

Obesity and excess weight are significant health issues for adults across the life course and into old age. Carrying excess weight can have significant implications for an individual’s physical and mental health. There isn’t a single intervention that can tackle obesity on its own, at population or at an individual level. Causes of obesity are multi-factorial, including biological; physiological; psycho-social; behavioural; and environmental factors. The childhood obesity plan alone has a commitment to halve the rate of childhood obesity by 2030.

Obesity is a complex problem with many drivers, including our behaviour, environment, genetics and culture. However, at its root obesity is caused by an energy imbalance: taking in more energy through food than we use through activity. Physical activity is associated with numerous health benefits for children, such as muscle and bone strength, health and fitness, improved quality of sleep and maintenance of a healthy weight. There is also evidence that physical activity and participating in organised sports and after school clubs is linked to improved academic performance.

The economic costs are great, too. We spend more each year on the treatment of obesity and diabetes than we do on the police, fire service and judicial system combined. It was estimated that the NHS in England spends over £5.1 billion on overweight and obesity-related ill-health per annum.

Physical inactivity is responsible for one in six UK deaths (equal to smoking) and is estimated to cost the UK £7.4 billion annually (including £0.9 billion to the NHS alone).

Evidence shows that one in four patients would be more active if advised by a GP or nurse, yet nearly three quarters of GP's do not speak about the benefits of physical activity to patients due to either lack of knowledge, skills or confidence. Our conference will seek to provide the latest evidence to address this knowledge and skills gap and support the promotion of this evidence to ensure healthier outcomes for patients as a result.

This must attend conference will clearly articulate current evidence and provide insights on research around these many conditions and how to adopt a preventative health approach in your local areas and communities through the promotion and prescription of physical activity. It will seek to address the current skills gap across healthcare in this regard and provide a blueprint for the future delivery of health and social care.

 

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