More than 500 practices are now involved with the Park Run movement aimed at encouraging people to take up running, it has been revealed.
The achievement has come through a partnership between the Royal College of GPs and Park Run, whose volunteers organise the events on Saturday mornings in neighbourhood parks.
The Royal College of GPs revealed the link as new national health guidance was issued aimed at getting public authorities to ensure roads are fit for runners, walkers and cyclists.
The standards, from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, say that public transport users, pedestrians and cyclists should be the first thought when new roads are built.
Professor Gillian Leng, from NICE, said: “As a society we are facing a looming Type 2 diabetes crisis, which is in part caused by people not exercising enough. We need more people to change their lifestyle and to take more exercise.
“People can feel less safe when they walk or cycle compared with when they drive. We’ve got to change this.”
The RCGP said physical activity and lifestyle was a “clinical priority.”
Chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: “It is a courageous move by NICE to challenge sectors outside of healthcare, but one that recognises the need for a society-wide approach to encouraging people to take steps to be more active and lead healthier lifestyles, and the notion of people from the health community working with those in other sectors is a good and important one.
“People are more likely to exercise – or simply choose to walk instead of drive – on roads that safe, convenient and clean.”
She added: “As part of this work we have recently partnered with Parkrun UK, and over 500 practices have already signed up to recommend local park runs to patients to be more active.”