Doctors Urged to Prescribe Exercise
Medical Groups Ask Doctors to Order Regular Exercise for Their Patients
WebMD News Archive
Nov. 5, 2007 -- Take a walk around the neighborhood and call me in the
That's what you're likely to hear from your doctor if several big medical
groups succeed in their latest public relations push. The groups, including the
American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Sports Medicine,
want doctors to order regular exercise for practically all their patients.
The new campaign is called "Exercise is Medicine."
Medical groups, insurers, and even top government officials for years have
struggled to convince Americans to exercise more, hoping to motivate an
ever-more sedentary American society. Alert after alert warns that the economy
cannot sustain the cost of care for the two-thirds of American adults who are
overweight or obese.
Now doctors' groups say their members have to get more involved.
Doctors must now take moderate exercise "and prescribe it liberally to
their patients," says Robert Sallis, MD, president of the American College
of Sports Medicine. "Every physician, every specialty has to be on this
(Do you exercise
regularly? Why or why not? Tell us about it on WebMD's Health Cafe message
Exercise as Medication
The CDC recommends that adults who are able get 30 minutes of
moderate-intensity exercise at least five days per week. That
moderate-intensity level of activity, included in a brisk walk or kicking a
soccer ball with the kids, is shown to significantly reduce the risk of
obesity-related problems like heart
disease and diabetes.
"Exercise is really a free medication," AMA President Ron Davis, MD,
told reporters at a briefing in Washington.
Davis said that exercise should not be an "option" but should be as
critical as blood
pressure or cholesterol tests.
"A person's activity level should be regarded as a vital sign," he