Br J Sports Med doi:10.1136/bjsports-2012-091380
  • Original article

Physical activity education in the undergraduate curricula of all UK medical schools. Are tomorrow's doctors equipped to follow clinical guidelines?

Press Release
  1. Emmanuel Stamatakis2,3
  1. 1University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  2. 2UCL-PARG (University College London Population Health Domain Physical Activity Research Group), London, UK
  3. 3Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Richard Weiler, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 235 Euston Road, London NW1 2BU, UK; rweiler{at}
  1. Contributors RW and ES conceived the idea. RW, SC and ES designed the questionnaire. RW and SC collected the data from the medical schools as per method. NC performed data entry and data analysis. RW drafted the initial paper and all authors contributed equally to the drafting and writing process. All authors critically revised and approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Accepted 26 June 2012
  • Published Online First 30 July 2012

Physical activity (PA) is a cornerstone of disease prevention and treatment. There is, however, a considerable disparity between public health policy, clinical guidelines and the delivery of physical activity promotion within the National Health Service in the UK. If this is to be addressed in the battle against non-communicable diseases, it is vital that tomorrow's doctors understand the basic science and health benefits of physical activity. The aim of this study was to assess the provision of physical activity teaching content in the curricula of all medical schools in the UK. Our results, with responses from all UK medical schools, uncovered some alarming findings, showing that there is widespread omission of basic teaching elements, such as the Chief Medical Officer recommendations and guidance on physical activity. There is an urgent need for physical activity teaching to have dedicated time at medical schools, to equip tomorrow's doctors with the basic knowledge, confidence and skills to promote physical activity and follow numerous clinical guidelines that support physical activity promotion.


  • Competing interest None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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