Parkrun as a tool to support public health: insights for clinicians

HAAKE, Steve, QUIRK, Helen and BULLAS, Alice (2022). Parkrun as a tool to support public health: insights for clinicians. British Journal of General Practice.

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Background: To support efforts to grow social prescribing and reduce levels of physical inactivity, parkrun UK and the Royal College of GPs developed the parkrun Practice initiative to link General Practices to local parkruns (free, weekly, timed, physical activity events). Practice staff are encouraged to take part themselves and also encourage their patients to participate. Aim: To provide insight for clinicians about parkrun participants, especially those with characteristics of a patient who might be signposted to physical activity. Design and setting: Secondary analysis of an online survey of 59,999 parkrunners in the UK. Method: Respondents were ranked into 13 categories using mean parkrun finish time allowing the following definitions: front runners, median runners, slower runners, runners/walkers and walkers. Measures included demographics, health conditions, motives for first participating and perceived impact of health and wellbeing. Results: Over 9% of all participants were found to have at least one long term health condition: this rose to 45% for walkers and included arthritis, obesity, depression, chronic pain, hypertension and anxiety. Walkers were less likely to be motivated by fitness or competition and more likely to be motivated by physical health. Despite these differences, perceived improvements to wellbeing were broadly similar for all parkrunners regardless of finishing time. Conclusions: The study shows that parkrunners are a diverse population in terms of physical health. The information here could be combined with other research on barriers to participation and successful brief interventions to help address the key issues of practitioner knowledge and confidence.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Public Health; 1117 Public Health and Health Services
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SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2022 11:55
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2023 10:31

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