What do you think of the idea of doctors prescribing exercise?
It already happens, to some degree, via the Green Prescription programme but, according to a Lincoln University researcher, many doctors are uncomfortable with prescribing exercise.
The Sport and Recreation associate professor, Mike Hamlin, has just done a review of research into exercise and adolescent weight issues.
He found people with obesity who strength train regularly can have similar cardiovascular health to fit people of a healthy weight, a Lincoln University media release says.
This has implications for children and teenagers with overweight issues, Dr Hamlin claims, because one of the barriers to these kids getting enough exercise is that intense aerobic exercise can be painful for them.
“That’s where strength training is helpful, because it doesn’t place as much stress on the joints as intense aerobic exercise,” he says in the media release.
His review found a combination of exercise, including strength training and low-intensity aerobic activity, and nutrition improves body composition. So why not enable more primary healthcare providers to prescribe just that?
Green Prescriptions are currently only available for adults. It seems, extending them to younger people would be a cheaper option than dealing with the potential chronic health problems down the track.
With one in nine Kiwi kids dealing living with obesity and a further 21 per cent overweight, this could be a welcome addition to the toolbox.