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Posts Tagged ‘rx’

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Photo: Tom Jamieson for the New York Times
“London’s bike-rental program has proved popular. Now, patients at two medical centers in Cardiff, Wales, will be offered six-month subscriptions to a bike-rental service, with free rides of up to 30 minutes,” reported the
New York Times last year.

Last week, as I watched two grandchildren painstakingly donning piles of bulky ice hockey gear, I remarked that for me, walking is the best exercise because you don’t have to do any prep. You just open the door and go out. My granddaughter, age 7, opined that walking is boring, and I have to admit that ice hockey may be more heart-pumping.

But I am not bored. And after walking every day for many years, I no longer feel surprised that I like to exercise. At first, I was resistant to doing anything. But a friend who was an internist leaned on me about exercising. And I knew if I were going to do anything regularly over a long period of time, it would have to be something I liked. So, walking was it.

Given that I go quite slow, I was surprised that when I told various doctors I just ambled, they didn’t seem bothered. Then I heard one refer to walking as a “weight-bearing activity,” and the penny dropped!

In the United Kingdom, doctors are making it easy for patients to exercise by means of bicycles. And like me, many former non-exercisers are surprised to find that they like it.

The BBC reports, “A cycling-on-prescription scheme trialled in Yorkshire has been so successful it could be rolled out across the UK, the organisers said. The scheme allows health professionals to offer those with long-term conditions 12 weeks of cycle training.

“More than 1,000 people have been referred to the scheme since it launched four years ago, according to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. Cycle UK said the scheme showed cycling was good for overall wellbeing. …

“The initiative is funded by West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which covers Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale, Craven, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Selby, Wakefield and York.

“Figures from 2018/2019 showed people using the scheme reporting a marked increase in feeling more confident and relaxed. …

“At the start of the programme, only 18% of participants were meeting the NHS [National Health Service] activity guidelines of 150 minutes per week — a figure that rose to 73% afterwards.

“Andrea, 47, from Wakefield, was referred as she has suffered from anxiety. ‘I’m more confident. I’m able to be out with other people more than I would normally,’ she said. ‘My fitness has improved, my lung function is a lot better than it has been and now I actually want to go out and do other things, and keep cycling, keep active and really start living my life.’ …

“Cycling UK said the scheme started in Yorkshire, and has since been trialled in areas including Wales, Manchester and London, but is not yet available nationwide.”  More at the BBC, here.

The New York Times, here, talks about the biking-rx trial in Wales, noting, “Nextbike, the company that offers the bicycle service for patients in Cardiff, provides rentals in many other European cities. Mareike Rauchhaus, a spokeswoman for the company, said that it participated in a program called By Bike to Work, which allowed people to claim prizes from their health insurance providers if they cycled to work. …

“Dr. Karen Pardy, a family doctor who is participating in the program in Cardiff, said in the statement [that] she hoped prescriptions would encourage people to ‘have a go at cycling around Cardiff’ and realize how the activity can support their well-being.”

P.S. If you search Suzanne’s Mom’s Blog for the word “prescription,” you’ll find a lot of posts on doctors’ unusual prescriptions to encourage more healthful living, including  biking in Boston, woodland walks, gardening, museum visits, poetry, music, dance, art …

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Boston Medical Center is an inner-city hospital that takes a special interest in immigrants and the poor. It also treats patients holistically, offering a referral service for problems that get in the way of good health.

With the support of the City of Boston, Boston Medical Center has added a new item to its medicine cabinet: bike sharing.

Catalina Gaitan writes at the Boston Globe, “The City of Boston has announced a program to subsidize bike-sharing memberships for low-income residents, in partnership with Boston Medical Center.

“The program, ‘Prescribe-a-Bike,’ would allow doctors at Boston Medical Center to prescribe low-income patients with a yearlong membership to Hubway, a bike-share program, for only $5.

“Participants would be allowed unlimited number of trips on the bicycles, provided they use them for 30 minutes or less at a time. They will also be given a free helmet, the mayor’s office said in a joint statement with Boston Medical Center.

“ ‘Obesity is a significant and growing health concern for our city, particularly among low-income Boston residents,’ said Kate Walsh, chief executive of Boston Medical Center, in the statement. …

“Statistics show that 1 in 4 low-income residents in Boston is obese, almost twice the rate of higher-income residents, the statement said.

“To qualify for the prescription, participants must be 16 years or older and be enrolled in some form of public assistance, or have a household income of no more than four times the poverty level.”

More here.

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Take two tomatoes and call me in the morning.

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The University of South Carolina has developed a manual for health centers that want to collaborate with farmers markets on health, even writing food prescriptions for patients who need to improve their eating habits.

The manual’s authors, Darcy Freedman and Kassandra Alia, write in the intro of their manual:

“Farmers’ markets have grown in popularity in recent years as a place for improving health, increasing economic growth for local agriculture, and building communities. …

“Though the rebirth of farmers’ markets represents an exciting movement in the United States, data reveal that the benefits of farmers’ markets are not evenly distributed. Communities with the greatest need for farmers’ markets, for instance, are least likely to have them.

“In the present manual, we describe an approach for developing a health center‐based farmers’ market. Health centers, in particular federally qualified health centers or FQHCs, were identified as a strategic place to locate farmers’ markets because they may be located in food desert contexts (i.e., low‐income communities with low‐access to healthy food retailers). Additionally, locating at a health center makes an explicit connection between farmers’ market and preventive medicine.” More.

Photo: Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

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