The early experience of general practitioners using Green Prescription Research Completed


The early experience of general practitioners using Green Prescription

Lead Author

Barry Gribben , Felicity Goodyear-Smith; Mardelene Grobbelaar; Diana O’Neill; Susan Walker


North Health

Publication Year



New Zealand Medical Journal


Dr FA Goodyear-Smith, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019 Auckland. E-mail:


Sedentary lifestyle is a significant risk factor for increased morbidity and mortality in many medical conditions. A Hillary Commission initiative. Green Prescription is a written exercise prescription given by general practitioner (GPs) to sedentary patients to encourage physical activity. Our aim was to establish the extent to which GPs in the North Health region in 1997 issued with Green Prescription packages had used them, the circumstances under which they were used and barriers to their use. Methods. 433 GPs issued with packs were faxed a one-page questionnaire for immediate completion, with follow up of non-responders. Results. The response rate was 73%, with 65% of respondents having written Green Prescriptions. Their main reasons for use were patient need for more exercise and presence of high-risk medical conditions such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes. Reasons for non-use were: GP already giving advice about physical activity; concern that Green Prescription was patronising and simplistic; compliance issues and time restraints. Some requested a computerised version. Conclusion. Non-responders may be non-users, hence we estimate that 48-65% of targeted GPs used Green Prescription. Barriers identified by GPs have assisted in Green Prescription development, which is now nationwide and assessed by independent researchers tri-annually.
Keywords: doctors, obesity, prescription , physical activity


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August 20, 2014