Should your doctor ask about your exercise habits?
An increasing number of doctors are subscribing to the school of thought that exercise is the best medicine. According to The Associated Press, Kaiser Permanente, one of the largest nonprofit health insurance plans in the U.S., has made a push to ask patients about how much exercise they get during their office visits. The information is included on patients' medical charts, along with their vital statistics such as weight and blood pressure.
"All we ask our physicians to do is to make a comment on it, like, 'Hey, good job,' or 'I noticed today that your blood pressure is too high and you're not doing any exercise. There's a connection there. We really need to start you walking 30 minutes a day," Dr. Robert Sallis, who helped start the initiative, told the news source.
A recent survey found that only a third of Americans say their doctors currently ask about their exercise habits. Kaiser Permanente physicians began asking patients about their exercise habits in 2008, following the government recommendation that adults get two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week.
Whether or not a doctor has told you to increase the amount of exercise you get, it's important to remember that physical activity can help individuals of all ages avoid high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other chronic diseases.