LONDON (Reuters) - A committee in Britain's upper chamber the House of Lords is to conduct an inquiry into how the London 2012 Olympics will help scientists and the public better understand the potential health benefits of exercise.
The inquiry, which will focus on sports and exercise science and medicine, starts on June 12 will hear evidence from government health officials as well as specialists from the National Health Service and sports governing bodies.
"It is widely agreed that the London Olympics must deliver a legacy. Our inquiry will seek to establish how the government can ensure that improved public health is a significant part of that," said John Krebs, chair of the Lords' Science and Technology Committee which will hold the inquiry.
He said the committee "will consider how the significant sums of money that are being invested in improving the performance of elite athletes in a range of sports can provide transferable knowledge that can be of benefit for the whole population."
According to Krebs, the British government spends around 100 million pounds a year on high performance sport and it recently invested 30 million pounds in establishing a UK National Centre of Excellence for Sports and Exercise Medicine.
Research suggests exercise can provide significant health benefits for a range of illnesses, from heart disease and diabetes, to mental health problems such as depression.
But Krebs said his committee was not yet convinced "that health professionals currently have the skills or support to prescribe appropriate training regimes for their patients".
(Reporting by Kate Kelland, editing by John Mehaffey)
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