Patients to be questioned on exercise

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Patients will be questioned by their GPs about how much exercise they do, under a new scheme which promotes physical activity to help combat health problems.

Doctors already routinely ask about smoking and alcohol consumption and will now do the same with physical activity.

As part of a year-long pilot, GPs and health professionals at NHS Lothian and five other health boards in Scotland will encourage adults to get active, initially focusing on those with chronic ill-health, long-term conditions and elderly people.

Physical inactivity is said to cost the NHS £94 million a year and contributes to nearly 2500 premature deaths every year in Scotland.

Sports Minister Shona Robison said: “This is not about telling people to take more exercise but health professionals offering advice to people who can get the most benefit, most quickly, ultimately reducing the need for further treatment.”