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February/March 2009 (vol. 05/5)

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Research Plus

Exercise prescription

A primary care based study in New Zealand finds that ‘exercise prescriptions’ can produce sustained increases in physical activity among less active middle-aged and older women. The randomised controlled trial followed 1,089 women aged 40–74, all of whom did relatively little exercise. The intervention group were given a ‘green prescription’ by a nurse, which detailed the exercise advice, followed by telephone support. Both groups increased their physical activity, but the numbers achieving the weekly target of 150 minutes of at least moderate intensity physical activity was significantly higher in the intervention group, after 12 and 24 months. However, while physical functioning and mental health scores improved, there were no significant differences in clinical outcomes (eg weight, blood pressure, waist circumference and fasting serum lipids).

British Medical Journal 2008; 337: a2509 (doi:10.1136/ bmj.a2509). http://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a2509.abstract

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Occupational Health at Work February/March 2009 (vol. 05/5) pp40