The Local Government Association (LGA) has called for GPs to give prescriptions for outdoor exercise to patients in order to combat rising obesity levels, a move that would have the full support of the RSPH.

Two thirds of the UK population are now overweight or obese and this figure looks set to increase unless concerted action is taken to tackle the problem.

Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive, RSPH, said: “People trust doctors and take the advice and prescriptions they give them seriously. There is a golden opportunity for doctors to aid people in getting outdoors and being more physically active by giving them “green prescriptions” – as already happens in New Zealand, with very encouraging results.

“Getting physically active outdoors is free with no cost to the NHS, but can have a hugely beneficial impact not only on physical health, including helping to maintain a healthy weight, but also on mental wellbeing and happiness. The all-encompassing benefits of physical activity make it the perfect prescription for many people and we would be happy to see doctors promoting this opportunity to patients across the UK.”