4 top reasons GPs prescribe exercise

But education is needed to encourage more doctors to refer to exercise specialists, say researchers

GPs are yet to be convinced of the benefits of referrals to exercise physiologists, if the latest analysis of BEACH data is anything to go by.

Victoria University researchers say only a tiny fraction of GPs refer patients to exercise physiologists, despite more than 11 million Australians reportedly living with chronic diseases that would benefit from exercise.

The analysis of the Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) data looked at information from more than 7000 GPs over a seven-year period from 2009-16.

“Although referral rates to exercise physiologists increased over the years, our analysis shows there is a need to educate GPs, and to advocate for exercise medicine to be embedded into medical schools,” said lead author Associate Professor Melinda Craike, of Victoria University’s College of Sport and Exercise Science.

Female GPs referred patients to exercise physiologists twice as