With support from the American Medical Association, the American College of Sports Medicine has launched a large-scale exercise initiative, called "Exercise is Medicine," encouraging physicians and other healthcare providers to deliver a physical activity message and prescription to every patient they examine. ACSM announced the initiative on Nov. 5 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
“Exercise is Medicine calls for all physicians, regardless of specialty, to counsel patients about their exercise regimes, and make recommendations that can lead to improved health and well-being for patients," Christa Dickey, a spokeswoman for ACSM (www.acsm.org), told SNEWS®. "Patients themselves can also initiate the conversation with their physician, asking questions about their physical activity levels and asking for their doctor's recommendations."
The message ACSM, a global organization of sports medicine experts and medical professionals, wants to convey through the initiative is that exercise is an important part of every physical activity program and can be used to prevent and treat numerous chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension.
"ACSM and AMA hope to show how important exercise and physical activity are to health and the prevention of many chronic diseases, and to more frequently address physical activity in the healthcare setting," Dickey said.
Although Exercise is Medicine will not offer customized exercise programs, the idea behind the initiative is that physicians should counsel their patients about exercise programs, and give personalized advice based on a patient's current state of health and past health history.
ACSM said that several organizations, mainly composed of healthcare providers, have agreed to support the basic principles of Exercise is Medicine, because they too believe in the tenets that physical activity should play a bigger role in patient/doctor interaction.
To get the word out, ACSM has created a website -- www.exerciseismedicine.org -- that contains resources for a variety of audiences, including physicians, healthcare providers and the general public.