Prescription to Get Active (RxTGA) is an exciting integrated partnership between family doctors, other health care providers and recreation organizations.
This health promotion initiative, now a federal not-for-profit corporation, was created in 2011 to encourage physical activity in sedentary Canadians with the ambitious aim of improving overall health and quality of life and reducing the risk of chronic disease and premature death.
Family doctors and other health care providers first identify patients who could benefit from more physical activity, and they then provide a prescription for physical activity. RxTGA utilizes this influence and the motivational power of a written prescription to encourage sedentary patients, who are at risk of developing chronic disease, to become more physically active.
Launched in Leduc, Alberta, there are now 25 Alberta primary care networks representing over 2,800 family physicians and their teams (writing more than 4,000 physical activity prescriptions) and over 130 recreational facilities available to RxTGA participants in Alberta. Participation numbers continue to grow each week.
We currently are looking at launching RxTGA chapters in Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. These chapters will be part of a targeted expansion to see how the initiative can be implemented in other jurisdictions with different models of primary care.
In Ontario, we have a team of health care providers revising the wording of the primary care “terms of participation” to reflect rules and regulations of the province’s medical community. A soft launch has been initiated by the Peterborough YMCA, which will be followed by the official launch in Markham.
Our target population is anyone who is not meeting recommended levels for physical activity and who does not require medical clearance or supervision for activity. Our goal is to serve as a platform to create, improve, integrate and share data to improve patients’ experiences and health through physical activity. We will continue to scale the current initiative with our vision to expand and support our program throughout the rest of Canada.