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US Department of Health and Human Services. (Pp 386; soft cover £26.50.) Leeds: Human Kinetics, 1999. ISBN 0-7360-0152-2.
As a general practitioner working in sports medicine and on a PCG board, I found this an interesting and stimulating book. Its main drawback is that is written for an American audience, but it is a welcome resource and it would be good to have in a library or PCG/PCT office.
It is split into four main sections: the scientific background; strategies for planning action; approaches for intervention, including partnership working with social services, workplace, and schools; a large appendix including national reports and handbooks. I particularly liked the emphasis on the cycle of change, with many ideas on how to influence people at different stages of commitment to physical activity, which is a welcome evolution and synthesis of current health promotion ideas. As an HImP lead, I found ideas on the wider picture in the community and partnership working extremely helpful. Many general practitioners yearn for health promotion to be effective, and there is a lot here to encourage this to happen. At the end of each chapter is an extensive list of references, further reading, literature review, and information on related organisations, many of which have web and email addresses encouraging further research.
I have two recommendations: firstly, it could do with an appendix of UK organisations; secondly, all the resource information could come on an accompanying floppy disc or CD-ROM, which would make copying and further use very enticing. This would make a good book into something quite exceptional.
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