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clinmed/2004060001v1 (June 29, 2004)
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Increasing physical activity: an exercise in evidence based practice?
Oliver W Morgan
There is considerable evidence to show that physical activity can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, help to achieve weight loss and manage diabetes, reduce the risk of developing some types of cancer and degenerative bone disease as well as relieving depression. Epidemiological studies suggest that in order to maintain good health, we should partake in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on five or more days of the week. However about 70% of the population in England is not active at this level. Three types of community-based intervention to increase physical activity have been studied: educational, behavioural and social and environmental. However, evidence of effectiveness for these interventions is weak. This presents a difficult dilemma for public health organisations ? we know that physical activity is good for health, but we don?t know how to increase it in the community.