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Leeds TV Doctor and GP reflects on people’s barriers to being physically active in Leeds


A Leeds GP is urging more doctors to take the time to talk to their patients about the benefits of physical activity.

The call came when the city’s Get Set Leeds initiative visited a medical practice in Burmantofts to find out how to get Leeds moving more.

According to Sport England, one in four people would be more physically active if a GP or nurse advised them to move more. However, almost three-quarters of GPs say they do not raise the issue of physical activity with patients because of lack of time, confidence, or knowledge.

Earlier this month, Dr Helen Lawal, a GP and TV-doctor in Leeds, talked to people at the Shakespeare Medical Practice, Burmantofts, about what might get in their way of being physically active and what changes in Leeds would get them to move more.

As part of the Get Set Leeds (GSL) initiative, Dr Helen helped the GSL team talk to people aged five to 85 from various ethnic backgrounds and speaking a wide range of languages.

They identified four main barriers to being physically active in Leeds: family and work responsibilities, the impact of health conditions, not knowing where to find information, and lack of communication from GP practitioners and health professionals.

Dr Lawal reflected on the main themes that came out of the discussion with the patients and identified solutions. These include fitting the physical activity in their everyday routine, building things up gradually, using the Get Set Leeds and Active Leeds website to learn more about physical activity, and encouraging GPs to sign up to the Active Practice Charter to talk to patients after their consultation about getting active.

To find out more about what Dr Helen Lawal said about the Get Set Leeds themes, watch this video: 


Dr Helen Lawal is a GP in Leeds, and is the Lifestyle lead for One Medical Group, which manages several NHS practices in the city, including Shakespeare Medical Practice. She is also a TV doctor who co-presented several Channel 4 series, including How To Stay Well, Food Unwrapped and How to Lose Weight Well. Helen was also the in-house medical expert on BBC 2’s quiz series, Britain’s Best Junior Doctor.

Get Set Leeds is an initiative that encourages people in Leeds to chat about what being active means to them and what might get them moving more. Visit to find out more information.

To learn more about Active Practice Charter and how to get involved, visit