Gardening ‘can be better for your health than pills’

Gardening ‘can be better for your health than pills’

Gardening ‘can be better for your health than pills’ says Health Secretary who wants balance shifted from tablets to social activities

  • Doctors should prescribe more gardening, ballroom dancing and art over pills
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he wants the ‘balance shifted’ from pills
  • Studies show taking part in anything from fishing to dance classes can improve a person’s physical and emotional health 

Doctors should prescribe more gardening, ballroom dancing and art rather than reaching for medication, the Health Secretary has said.

Matt Hancock, appointed in July, said he wants the ‘balance shifted’ from pills to social activities to improve the nation’s health.

Studies show taking part in anything from fishing to dance classes can improve a person’s physical and emotional health.

And he is encouraging use of apps and wearable technology to get people involved with their communities and be more active.

Doctors should prescribe more gardening, ballroom dancing and art rather than reaching for medication, the Health Secretary has said

Mr Hancock said there was growing evidence so-called social prescribing can be more effective than tablets. He added: ‘Activities like social clubs, art and gardening can be more effective than medicines for some.

‘There’s always going to be medicines prescribed, but I want to see the balance shifted.’


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Experts have repeatedly warned of ‘over-medicalisation’ with many arguing too many patients are automatically given the likes of antidepressants when participating in social activities could be more beneficial.

Mr Hancock also vowed to transform ‘clunky’ IT systems within the Health Service.

Matt Hancock, appointed in July, said he wants the ‘balance shifted’ from pills to social activities to improve the nation’s health

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