Monday, September 06, 2010

Should MDs 'Prescribe' Exercise or Refer Patients to Exercise Specialists?

Dunedin sports and exercise medicine specialist Dr Hamish Osborne is challenging New Zealand GPs to start viewing exercise as a powerful medicine that should be prescribed to all patients. Osborne, scheduled to speak today at the Royal New Zealand College of GPs conference in Christchurch, said literature overwhelmingly supported the use of exercise as medicine. Research showed that women diagnosed with breast cancer have their survival rate doubled if they exercise for an hour a day. Similarly, research showed that with bowel cancer, for those who need chemotherapy, exercise was as powerful as chemo. Osborne said the treatment effect of exercise was so powerful the American College of Sports Medicine was pushing the line that it might become unethical not to prescribe exercise to everyone. "The government here does not spend any money on promoting it [exercise] but they pour gazillions of dollars into drugs to try and treat the illness that could be partially prevented by exercising. The exercise medicine prevention numbers are, in general, all enormous. You're talking about 50% reduction of just about whatever you name." Osborne, based at the Dunedin School of Medicine, said a typical GP consultation did not provide enough time for exercise medicine issues and many GPs had never been taught about its effectiveness. Previous governments had toyed with the idea of "green prescriptions" but not enough money had been put into it to make it work. "There needs to be a philosophical change at a whole bunch of levels," said Osborne. Osborne said that as a guideline for the adult population, everyone should walk for 30 minutes daily, five days a week, plus another hour of slightly higher intensity exercise. They should also be lifting something heavy a couple of times a week.

Read the original here:
Exercise medicine just what doctor orders |

Cliff's Comment:
I think it's great that prominent MDs are recognising the importance of exercise. It has been shown in so many studies to reduce depression, autoimmune effects and the onset of heart disease, diabetes etc that to not have it as part of a viable treatment plan for illness is very negligent. However I disagree that doctors should 'prescribe' exercise. Exercise prescription is not what doctors are trained to do. Doctors should instead refer patients to certified strength and conditioning specialists, medical exercise specialists and physiologists with a background in the population of the specific client. In the article Dr Osborne recognises that Doctors don't have the training, nor the time to effectively prescribe exercise and when there is a whole field dedicated to this it seems strange to expect one profession to learn the job skills of another!
If we all work together we can help to forge greater and greater levels of health and wellness, and referral between experts in their specialist fields is key to that. 

Some examples of strength, conditioning and exercise/rehab experts include:
Paul Hemsworth ~
Josh Neumann ~
Jon 'The Dragon' Kawamoto ~
Amber Moltzer ~
Mischa Harris ~

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