A few years ago, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), in collaboration with the American Medical Association (AMA), launched Exercise is Medicine (EIM), a national initiative to “make physical activity and exercise a standard part of a disease prevention and treatment medical paradigm in the United States.” EIM hopes to make counseling about exercise a routine part of patient care and seen as a vital sign like blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, BMI, and other standard health indicators. The initiative is targeting physicians and other primary-care providers to make available the information and training they need to treat physical activity and exercise as an integral part of medical management.
Although there is still research to do, the overwhelming evidence is that very little increases in physical activity can have a significant impact on overall health. The preponderance of research indicates that appropriate levels of physical activity decreases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and many cancers. While this information has been around for a while, Americans have only made slight improvements in their physical activity and exercise levels over the last decade. Encouraging physicians to regularly discuss exercise with their patients could help in making us a little more active.
EIM also includes a component of encouraging the general public to approach their physicians about physical activity if their doctor does not typically discuss it. The next time you visit your physician, ask him or her about appropriate exercise levels for you. If they seem reluctant to discuss it, tell them about EIM. The EIM website, which includes resources for healthcare professionals and the general public, can be seen at: