Free bikes to be given out by the NHS to combat obesity
Get on your bike, say the NHS
Don't worry - doctors haven't suddenly decided to start turning people away at surgeries. The NHS have pledged to give out free bikes in order to cope with a growing obesity epidemic in the UK.
More than 60% of adults are classed as overweight or obese, although only 45% of people think their own weight is excessive.
On your bike
Now, some NHS patients in Cardiff will be handed prescriptions for free bikes in an attempt to combat obesity and the risk of heart disease.
The new scheme builds on research which found that cycling slashes the risk of heart disease by 46% and cancer by 45%.
This study also discovered that getting to work on a bike reduced the risk of heart disease by 36%.
Dr. Tom Porter of Public Health Wales said: "Not only can cycling to work reduce your risk of death from heart disease by 52%, but it's also a great way to get around the city without using your car, making it good for both you and the environment around you, and helping to keep the air clean for everyone while reducing carbon emissions."
Patients from select GP surgeries in Cardiff will be able to get free 30-minute bike hire sessions for six months.
Although the scheme is initially being rolled out in the Welsh capital, the company funding the scheme are also planning to run it in other towns and cities.
Bike provider nextbike also have links to Bath, Milton Keynes, Glasgow, Exeter, Belfast, Stirling and the University of Warwick.
The health risks of obesity
Weight is understandably a sensitive subject for the vast majority of people, but it's a public health issue that needs tackling.
Obesity increases the risk of:
- Joint problems
- Lower back pain
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease and stroke
- Type 2 diabetes
- Endometrial, breast and colon cancer
- Menstrual issues
- Erectile dysfunction
- Breathing problems
Despite these dangers, you can fend off fat gain and its associated problems by losing weight, gaining strength and improving your cardiovascular fitness.
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