Exercise is Medicine! But how can we convince the sceptics?

I connected with ACSM president Bob Sallis today – he is heading up the ‘Exercise Is Medicine’ initiative through ACSM.

Bob, a family doctor in California, shared his frustration with mainstream medicine overlooking physical activity as the most powerful therapy available to physicians. The Exercise is Medicine initiative aims to have every family doctor assessing current level of physical activity by a simple questionnaire at every consultation. This question would be asked by the office assistant so that the doctor, of course 100% reliable, would not need to take up time to do that.

Patients who are doing less than 150 minutes of physical activity per week could then be readily flagged for interventions. And that is a whole new ball of wax as they say! But there is hope – more and more interventions are proving successful so combining the best of research from psychology, exercise physiology, engineering and electronics should allow us to make a difference. As Bob says, ‘we can convince patients to have their stomach stapled and take medications that sometimes make them feel awful, so promoting physical activity shouldn’t be that difficult!’.

The Exercise is Medicine initiative aims to have every family doctor assessing current level of physical activity by a simple questionnaire at every consultation. This question would be asked by the office assistant so that the doctor, of course 100% reliable, would not need to take up time to do that.

Do you have a successful way of promoting physical activity in the office? And please remember the BJSM special issue for 2009 – Integrating Physical Activity into Clinical Practice.

The April issue of BJSM has 4 papers related to physical activity and health:
check them out online first!

An active school model to promote physical activity in elementary schools: Action Schools! BC
Patti-Jean Naylor, Heather M Macdonald, Darren E. R. Warburton, Katherine E Reed, and Heather A McKay

Walking or vitamin B for cognition in older adults with mild cognitive impairment? A randomized controlled trial
Jannique G.Z. van Uffelen, Marijke J.M. Chinapaw, Willem van Mechelen, and Marijke Hopman-Rock

Effect of commercial airline travel on oxygen saturation in athletes
Celeste Geertsema, Anthony B Williams, Peter Dzendrowskyj, and Chris Hanna

Best The Practice of Primary Care Sports Medicine in the United States
Jason J Diehl, Jason J Pirozzolo, and Thomas M

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