New initative will put physical activity at the heart of paediatric care

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Public Health Scotland, sportscotland and the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK (FSEM) have launched a new partnership to help children and young people with health conditions lead more active lives.

The new initiative supports a series of paediatric modules within the Faculty’s existing online resource – Moving Medicine – designed to help healthcare professionals integrate physical activity conversations into routine clinical care, which is underpinned by behavioural change frameworks.

The Moving Medicine resource, which is also backed by the Royal College for Paediatric and Child Health (RCPCH) and the Scottish Government, looks at condition specific benefits from physical activity, as well as the broader benefits to mental wellbeing, quality of life and self-esteem.

It has been developed in consultation with leading paediatric experts in cancer, type 1 diabetes, epilepsy, mental health, obesity and asthma.

Minister of Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, Joe FitzPatrick, said:

“Being physically active is one of the best things we can do for our physical and mental wellbeing.

“This is all the more important during the COVID-19 pandemic, as evidence suggests that regular physical activity can help maintain or enhance our mood and our immune response.

Chief Executive of sportscotland, Stewart Harris, said:

“These new resources provide us with an excellent opportunity to promote the wide-ranging benefits of physical activity to our children and young people. We know that in these particularly challenging times with the current pandemic it is even more important to keep moving and keep active in as many aspects of daily life as possible.”

Dr Kush Joshi, Paediatric project lead for Moving Medicine, said:

“The Moving Medicine resource will help healthcare professionals to enable children and young people to live healthier more active lives, and thus reap both the health and social benefits which comes with this.”

Angela Leitch, Chief Executive of Public Health Scotland, said:

“The importance of being physically active has never been higher on the public health agenda than it is now, as we navigate our way through and beyond the COVID pandemic.

“Using these materials will help health professionals raise the issue of physical activity with the people they support. Our aim is that children and young people with long term health conditions can be supported to incorporate more physical activity into their lives.”

The resources have been designed specifically for children and young people in consultation with more than 100 healthcare professionals, teachers, and patients, covering:  cancer, obesity, epilepsy, mental health, type 1 diabetes and asthma.

Help for parents/carers, patients and schools include patient information leaflets, information for schools and physical activity interventions and signposting for children and young people.

Professor Paul Dimitri on behalf of RCPCH said: “Physical activity is fundamental for the physical and mental health of children and young people and will improve the lives of those with long-term conditions. The future health of the population is dependent on health in childhood.”