Physical exercise, a medicine to be reimbursed

Wall decoration painted by Fernand Léger for the physical culture room of an apartment created in 1935 by Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand.

“Imagine that metformin, the benchmark anti-diabetic drug, was free in Strasbourg but cost 200 euros in other cities… That would be revolting”spear Alexander Feltzdeputy for health at Strasbourg town hall and president of the city’s sports-health center (MSS). If he uses this metaphor, it is to underline the fact that adapted physical activity (APA), non-drug therapy, recognized in certain chronic illnesses, is only funded in the Alsatian capital, the Grand-Est region and a few other municipalities or territories, but not at the national level.

The promotion of physical and sporting activity, decreed “great national cause” for 2024 by Emmanuel Macron as part of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games (JOP), will it take sports and health up a gear?

The government should take a step forward during the presentation of the social security financing bill (PLFSS), scheduled for Wednesday September 27, by announcing APA support in the area of ​​cancer and diabetes. In the meantime, the Strasbourg experience still sets a benchmark.

Launched in 2012, at the initiative of Mr. Feltz, a general practitioner convinced that physical activity is a real medicine, the system called “Sport health on prescription” (SSSO) was first aimed at adults affected by a chronic illness, whether recognized as a long-term condition or not: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, etc. Then it was gradually extended to vulnerable elderly people, people suffering from psychiatric disorders, long-term Covid, and pregnant women. and young mothers.

essment session

Some 5,000 residents of the city benefited from this care, guided by 500 doctors, out of a total of 650 installed in the Alsatian capital. “Every week, 1,000 people attend around a hundred physical activity slots”, specifies Matthieu Jung, head of the support center at the MSS in Strasbourg. Furthermore, since 2014, 1,000 children have joined a program to treat obesity and overweight.

Equipped with a prescription, the patient first undergoes a medical-sports essment session, which includes, among other things, a test consisting of walking the greatest possible distance in six minutes. An adapted physical activity teacher then offers them several activities (swimming, cycling, Nordic walking, basketball, yoga, etc.) and helps them choose according to their tastes, pathology, lifestyle habits, etc. Free the first year, this system is subject to progressive pricing, from 20 to 100 euros per year, depending on income, the second year.

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