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Encourage everyone to be more active – even if their weight is healthy, says NICE

16 March 2015 - 4:35pm

Health practitioners should encourage people to exercise, be less sedentary and improve their diets – even if they are not currently overweight.

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Weight gain in adulthood can be avoided by being physically active and eating healthily

That is the message from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in clinical guidance published on 13 March.

NICE says that being physically active and improving diets is just as important for people with a healthy weight as it is for their overweight or obese counterparts.

The guidance is aimed at physiotherapy staff and others who provide information or interventions on maintaining a healthy weight or preventing excess weight gain.

It recommends that practitioners:

  • encourage people to incorporate activities into their daily routines and to take regular breaks from sitting
  • advise people to watch less TV and curtail other screen-time
  • promote diets based mainly on vegetables, fruits, beans and pulses, wholegrains and fish
  • emphasise that weight gain in adulthood is not inevitable – it can be avoided by being physically active and eating healthily

Physios have a vital role

CSP professional adviser Carley King told Frontline: ‘Physiotherapy staff are ideally placed to communicate the benefits and practicalities of gradually increasing physical activity.

‘This can include providing brief, opportunistic advice for patients who are being treated for other reasons, or it might be as part of a weight management service. Either way, physiotherapy staff have a vital role to play in helping people to maintain a healthy weight.’

Ms King also recommended that members make use of the physiotherapy works briefing on obesity, which highlights the key role that physiotherapy staff have to play in preventing and managing obesity.

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