CALGARY, April 28, 2015 /CNW/ - Family doctors in the Calgary area will be able to start giving their patients prescriptions to "get active" as part of an innovative program launched by local Primary Care Networks (PCNs) on Tuesday.
The award-winning Prescription to Get Active initiative was unveiled at Southland Leisure Centre by seven local PCNs, which represent more than 1,300 doctors and about 1.1 million patients in Calgary and the surrounding communities.
Thanks to a unique partnership between the PCNs and municipal recreation facilities in Airdrie, Calgary, Cochrane and Didsbury, doctors will be able to give patients free passes to take part in whatever form of exercise suits them best. Research shows that 30 minutes of physical activity per day for adults, and 60 minutes for children, can reduce health risks.
"The idea is for primary care family physicians to provide patients with a written exercise prescription," said Jason Shenher, Executive Director of Mosaic PCN. "This serves to provide a strong message to patients that participating in physical activity is extremely important for their health. I am so pleased that this program has now been expanded to Calgary and area and constitutes an incredible partnership between our seven Calgary and area PCNs and 17 recreation facilities."
Prescription to Get Active is based on the Green Prescription program originally developed in New Zealand. It was piloted in Leduc in 2011, then expanded to the Edmonton area in 2013. The program has been extremely successful and is now being introduced in the Calgary area.
"The City of Calgary Recreation wants to get more Calgarians, more active, more often – and we can't do this single handedly," said Kurt Hanson, Director for Recreation at The City of Calgary. "To better impact and improve the health and well being of Calgarians, partnerships such as this are key. We are thrilled to be the first Calgary recreation provider to partner with the PCNs on this unique initiative."
Prescription to Get Active is aimed at anyone who needs to be more active and can exercise without specific supervision or medical restrictions. This includes children, youth, adults and those aged 65 and older. It is open to all patients of PCN family doctors in the Calgary area. Those who do not currently have a family doctor can request one at calgaryareadocs.com.
"For me it's not about how much weight I can lose, it's about how my body and mind feel, which is a whole lot better since I started getting active," said Prescription to Get Active patient Lyndsay Waymouth. "I really notice a difference in my condition when I miss an exercise class. Without Prescription to Get Active, I would still be sitting on my couch feeling sorry for myself."
More information, including a complete list of participating facilities, is available on the program website at prescriptiontogetactive.com.
ABOUT PRIMARY CARE NETWORKS:
Primary Care Network services and programs are developed in partnership with family doctors. They are designed to meet the everyday health needs of patients. Research shows that patients who have a family doctor and visit them regularly are healthier as they age and live longer. Nearly 1,300 doctors are members of the seven PCNs that serve about 1.1 million patients in the Calgary area. To find out more about PCNs and the Prescription to Get Active program, visit prescriptiontogetactive.com.
SOURCE Calgary and Area Primary Care Networks
For further information: Cory Leyte, Communications Specialist, Highland Primary Care Network, Phone: (403) 968-4024, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Keith Bradford, Communications Manager, Calgary Foothills Primary Care Network, Phone: (403) 470-3255, Contact day of the event: (403) 470-3255, Email: email@example.com