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The wrong priorities

Last November it was announced by NHS Scotland that a pilot exercise promotion scheme for those most at risk from a sedentary lifestyle would be rolled out in 20 NHS clinics across Ayrshire and Arran, the Borders, Grampian, Lothian, Tayside and the Western Isles. It was said to be aimed at tackling Scotland’s high levels of excess weight, diabetes, heart disease and depression.

On January 15, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgowcalled for patients to be advised on why and how they might want to, and could, become more active. Dr Frank Dunn, president of the college , was quoted as saying: “ Increasing physical activity must be given equal priority to smoking cessation and addressing harmful use of alcohol. Small changes in a person’s level of activity can significantly impact on their health.”

On January 29, the Scottish Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties made further recommendations in that all health professionals be trained to assess physical activity levels and taught how to advise patients to do more. Among other specifics it called for walking routes to be provided for staff and patients in the vicinity of all hospitals. It said that by the end of 2015 all medical schools in Scotland should include education on physical activity and changing health behaviour.

On December 22 last the “ Investing in Ideas” scheme of the Big Lottery Fund turned down a request from Bonnyrigg and Lasswade Community Council for the modest sum of £4,720 to fund a community consultation and site assessment and draft scheme on having one or more fitness trails in the green areas in Bonnyrigg .

It is reported in your columns today that the SNP-led Midlothian Council has just approved funding of £180,500 for a feasibility study of how to “improve” Dalkeith town centre.

And we wonder why we are such an unfit nation and so poor, with a few honourable exceptions, at sport.

Bill MacDonald

Harmony Court, Bonnyrigg

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