Leeds Beckett Lecturer champions physical activity
Dr Dane Vishnubala, GP and Sport and Exercise Medicine Doctor based at the Haxby Group, will take on the role as part of the PHE’s drive to tackle physical inactivity – a key priority in health improvement.
Dr Vishnubala said: “I am thrilled to have accepted the position, which coincidentally mirrors my own personal PhD study; ‘Changing behaviour in primary care about physical activity’.
“The PHE role is to educate primary and secondary care doctors about the importance of physical activity and how to implement advice effectively. A number of GPs have been recruited from various regions of England - the aim is to hopefully make a difference on a bigger scale. If all doctors are providing more physical activity advice then more sedentary patients are likely to change their lifestyles which we hope in time will have a positive impact on the health of the nation.”
Current guidance from the Chief Medical Office (CMO) recommends that adults should do at least 150 minutes (two and a half hours) of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes (one hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity plus two resistance training sessions a week. Children and young people (five to 18 years) should engage in moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity for at least 60 minutes and up to several hours every day.
Current trends, however, suggest the UK is falling short of these guidelines, proposing around one in two women and a third of all men in the UK are damaging their health as a result of a lack of physical activity. The PHE imply it is an unsustainable situation that is costing the UK an estimated £7.4 billion a year. If current trends continue, the burden of health and social care will destabilise public services and take a significant toll on quality of life for individuals and communities.
Dr Vishnubala added: “We know physical activity is important and can play an extremely important part in health promotion and disease prevention. It is well known that the role of physical activity is not well taught in medical schools and other health care courses and that many primary care professionals are not equipped with the skills to provide appropriate advice. I want to look into the best way to change the behaviour of the healthcare professional; to increase their knowledge and subsequently the amount of physical activity advice given to patients, particularly those with chronic diseases.”
Dr Vishnubala will be working alongside Dr Andy Pringle, Reader in Physical Activity, Exercise and Health, and Professor Jim McKenna in the Centre for Active Lifestyles at Leeds Beckett University. Dr Pringle said: “Physical inactivity is a major public health issue and primary and secondary health care professionals can play an important role in helping to impact on the physical activity levels of sedentary and inactive populations. Dane’s role with the PHE and his individual studies will hopefully result in two outcomes. Firstly, a better understanding of the challenges health care professionals face when encouraging physical activity. Secondly, how physical activity can be best promoted to patients in health care settings.”
Dr Vishnubala also runs a local training provider educating fitness professionals called CORE Fitness Education www.corefitnesseducation.co.uk