In recent years there has been growing interest in the role that health professionals can play in supporting people to reach this target, including through Exercise on Referral Schemes (ERS). However, concerns have been raised about the efficacy of ERS for some people leading to growing interest in the role that social prescribing could play in supporting people to become more physically active.
Social prescribing is a way for health professionals and other service providers to refer people to a link worker who spends time to understand ‘what matters to them’ and uses this information to tailor packages of community-based support. Although there is a wide range of community-based physical activity opportunities for link workers to refer to currently very little is known about the extent to which this happening or whether it leads to higher levels of activity. To begin addressing this gap this project set-out to explore the current evidence for social prescribing and physical activity and identify transferrable lessons from ERS.
We hope that the insights presented will support the development of an agenda for future policy, practice and research on this topic and we look forward to working with key stakeholders to take this forward.