Law opens “prescription sport” to more beneficiaries

Ten thousand steps and more. This is one more step towards the recognition of “sport-health”. After a long and chaotic journey, the bill aimed at democratizing sport in France was adopted Thursday, February 24 in the National Assembly, on the last day of the parliamentary session. In addition to the health component, the text also provides for provisions concerning education, the governance of sports organizations, the prevention of violence and discrimination.

First good news: the law widens the spectrum of people who can benefit from prescriptions for adapted physical activity (APA). So far, “sport on prescription” (enshrined in the law of January 26, 2016, which entered into force on 1is March 2017) was reserved for long-term conditions, i.e. approximately 10 million individuals with cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, serious heart disease, etc. This will now concern patients with chronic illnesses or with risk factors, such as overweight, obesity or arterial hypertension, as well as those with a loss of autonomy. That is potentially more than 10 million additional people. Another notable advance, underlined by the deputy Régis Juanico (Génération.s), “physical activity and adapted physical activity will be included in the projects of establishments and medico-social services [ESMS], with a referent in each ESMS in charge of implementing programs”.

“A missed opportunity”

These are not only the structures taking care of the elderly or disabled, but also the homes for young workers, emergency accommodation, rejoices the deputy, very committed to the fight against sedentary lifestyle and in the promotion of the physical activity, and co-author of a recent information report on the subject. “When we know the benefits of sport in terms of well-being and inclusion, it’s real progress, even if we will have to see the effectiveness on the ground”, he said again. However, the member abstained during the vote on the law, which he considered to be trivial and insufficient in terms of the provisions promoting physical activity in the professional environment.

At the same time, APA prescriptions, hitherto reserved for attending physicians, are being extended to specialist physicians. And their renewal can be carried out by physiotherapists, one of the professions involved in this care. This last provision, introduced by the senators, however, makes other professionals in the sector cringe: APA teachers, ie around 50,000 people with a university degree in the Staps APA-Health sector. “We regret that the rapporteurs and the Minister of Sports have once again excluded us from the text of the law and constantly omit to quote us explicitly in the reports and announcements”, Stéphane Dijoux gets annoyed. Yet, this APA teacher continues to originate one petition for better recognition of his profession, “in the field, it works, and each trade intervenes in its specific area of ​​expertise, respecting the work and the initial training of each one”. And to add: “Sport-health centers are mainly initiated and created with and by APA teachers. They are also at the heart of sport-health networks, and they participate in research. We work in all sectors, medico-social, social and health. »

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