Prescribed Cycling: The Solution to the Obesity Issue?

The Government recently announced that prescribed cycling will be an option for GPs to help tackle the obesity issue. But is it the solution?

The idea is to encourage easier access to bikes and that form of exercise, with the general population being spurred to jump on their bikes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, its impact on public transport and the effect of being overweight in relation to coronavirus.

The new strategy will see GP surgeries participating in bicycle schemes, making the exercise easier and cheaper to take up.

According to data from the Department for Transport, on one day in May there was a 387% rise in cyclists on the road in England compared to the percentage of the equivalent day in the first week of March.

This cycling surge needs to be sustainable, with Sir Simon Stevens, NHS England CEO, being quoted by the Guardian as saying; “Obesity can double your chance of dying from coronavirus. So this pandemic is a call to arms to change what we eat and how we exercise.”

But will prescribed cycling have an effect? Providing more opportunities for access to cycling and exercise is always going to be beneficial. Simply putting the option in front of people is not the solution.

What will the ongoing support be during this process? Who will help create a weight loss programme for them which will be sustainable? How else will the patient be encouraged to adopt and maintain this programme?

This holistic approach provides the best opportunity for long-lasting weight loss progress and must be a concerted effort across the board, similar to the programme offered by Onhealth.

Focusing on diet, exercise and achievable goals, Onhealth aims to battle back against the increasing obesity crisis and turn the tide on this social issue.