-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- If physicians think their
own fitness is important, chances are they'll advise exercise for
their patients too, a new study finds.
The research found that physically fit doctors were more likely
to push for physical activity in patients than inactive
Because people often take their doctor's advice seriously,
"these findings suggest that improving health care providers'
physical activity levels may be an easy way to help reduce physical
inactivity among the general population," Isabel Garcia de Quevedo,
of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an
American Heart Association news release.
The study was to be presented Friday at a meeting of the
American Heart Association in New Orleans. Findings presented at
medical meetings are typically considered preliminary until
published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The research team analyzed the findings of 28 previous studies
on health care providers' physical activity and the exercise
counseling they gave to patients. The review revealed that
physically active health care providers were much more likely to
advise their patients to get daily exercise.
Some of the studies found that fit, active doctors were two to
five times more likely than inactive doctors to recommend exercise
to their patients. Other studies found that programs to improve
doctors' physical activity levels improved the doctor's confidence
and ability to provide exercise advice to patients.
The researchers also discovered that medical school students who
took part in a program to improve their lifestyle habits were 56
percent more likely than other medical students to provide patients
with regular physical activity counseling.
"When [exercise] advice is coupled with a referral to community resources, it can be quite effective and this approach should be part of the public health solution to America's inactivity problem," study leader and co-author Dr. Felipe Lobelo, an epidemiologist with CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, said in the news release.
The American Heart Association and the CDC recommend at least
150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a
guide to physical activity.
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