Welcome to the Be Active Your Way blog, the official blog of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAG). Follow the Be Active Your Way blog to learn what organizations across the nation are doing to help Americans be more physically active. Learn more about this blog.

Posts tagged: chronic disease

Nutrition and Physical Activity Training for Healthcare Providers

Community Health Centers are non-profit clinics that are located in medically underserved areas. They serve over 22 million people throughout the 50 states and U.S. territories. These centers play an important role in delivering healthcare for vulnerable populations and can save money by reducing the need for more expensive specialty care visits, which leads to savings for the entire health care system.

Nutrition & Physical Activity Counseling – Recent Report

Healthcare providers working in Community Health Centers and in other settings needed to be well-versed in a variety of issues, including nutrition and physical activity. Counseling in both of these areas is helpful in managing and treating obesity and other related chronic diseases (diabetes, hypertension, etc.). According to a recent report released by the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and the American College of Sports Medicine, less than one quarter of physicians feel they received adequate training to counseling their patients on these topics.

Medical students and healthcare professionals acknowledge they need to know more about nutrition and physical activity counseling, specifically:

  • What to say
  • How to say it
  • Who else can help
  • What other resources exist
  • How the patient experiences it

Several studies have shown that when counseled by their provider to lose weight, patients are more likely to attempt weight loss and increase their physical activity. Yet, less than 13% of medical visits include counseling for nutrition.

Infographic source: http://bipartisanpolicy.org/library/report/teaching-nutrition-and-physical-activity-medical-school-training-doctors-prevention

Recommendations from the Report

There are several strategies for increasing training in these areas, such as developing a standard nutrition and physical activity curriculum in schools and including more of this content in licensing and certification exams. Some initiatives have already begun to increase training in these areas, but there is still a need to broaden awareness for more changes in medical education.

Has your healthcare provider recently given you advice on nutrition and physical activity? If not, would you feel confident asking your provider for advice on these topics during your next visit? If you are a provider, do you discuss nutrition and physical activity with your patients?

The Importance of Exercise for Kids with Arthritis

Written by The Arthritis Foundation | KIDSGETARTHRITISTOO.ORG

Physical activity can boost your child’s ability to move and enjoy life.

We all know exercise is good for us, but the benefits of physical activity for children with juvenile arthritis and related conditions can even be greater – as can the downsides of not being physically active. That’s why it’s especially crucial for kids with arthritis to keep moving.

Fitness Facts 

By and large, studies show that kidswith arthritis are less fit than their healthy counterparts. Specifically, they have less muscle strength and muscle endurance. They also have less aerobic capacity (needed for prolonged exercise) and anaerobic capacity (needed to perform intense bursts of activity); therefore, they tire faster during physical activity than kids who don’t have arthritis even when their disease is inactive.

On the flip side, studies also demonstrate that these conditions can be improved with exercise training. Aerobic and anaerobic capacity can be boosted, and resistance training can increase muscle strength and endurance.

Yes, They Can 

Perhaps the most important thing to know about exercise for children with arthritis is that when done properly it does no harm. They can and should exercise.

Many studies show that land- and water-based exercise is safe, and that joint pain and swelling don’t get worse after exercise programs.

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If Exercise Is Medicine, Will People Fill Their Prescriptions?

Written by IHRSA

On Monday, July 14th, the Healthcare Leadership Council hosted an excellent briefing on non-adherence to medication, highlighting the fact that 1 out of 3 patients never fill their prescriptions, and nearly 3 out of 4 Americans don’t take their medications as directed.

The panelists discussed innovative strategies for improving adherence, such as targeted and timely communication. Each strategy was based on the reality that a one-size-fits-all approach to communication is both inefficient and ineffective. Clearly, the digital age is creating medical providers with new opportunities for engaging patients and tracking their adherence, but there are no simple solutions for getting folks to take their medicine.

The problem of non-adherence to medication raises an uncomfortable question for physical activity advocates.

If 1/3 of patients are signaling that a visit to the pharmacy is a barrier too high to overcome, and 75% are finding it too difficult to take medication properly, how many patients can we reasonably expect to fill an exercise prescription that typically requires 150 minutes/week of exertion?

Although evidence suggests that patients are more likely to exercise if their doctors prescribe exercise, we suspect very few patients will stick to an exercise program unless medical offices and physical activity providers (e.g. health clubs, personal trainers, community centers) adopt engagement strategies similar to those being implemented by the pharmaceutical industry for medication adherence.

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The Doctor (and Ranger) Will See You Now

Guest Post from the Institute at the Golden Gate

In the past decade, rates of obesity and associated chronic diseases have skyrocketed in children and adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) documents that more than one-third of adults in the United States—more than 72 million people—are considered medically obese and therefore more likely to develop major chronic diseases such as type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Lack of physical activity and poor diet has been established as the causes of an unhealthy, overweight nation. The CDC estimates that more than 40 percent of the U.S. population is sedentary.

The epidemics that result from an indoor, sedentary lifestyle require action from all sectors of society. Parks and public lands are an underutilized, low-cost healthcare resource that can and must be used to help solve the problem. There is a growing consensus that nature has many health benefits, from increased physical activity to mental, emotional, and community health benefits.  Here in the San Francisco Bay Area we help convene an initiative called Healthy Parks, Healthy People: Bay Area (HPHP: Bay Area) that fulfills a clear need to increase access to parks and develop them as health resources for the whole family—especially those in the highest health need communities.

Photo courtesy of Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

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Staying Fit with a Disability

This Physical Fitness & Sports Month we’re reminded, through a recent CDC Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, to recognize the importance of physical activity among adults with disabilities. More than 21 million U.S. adults 18-64 years old have a disability. Did you know that these adults are three times more likely than adults without disabilities to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer? Regular aerobic activity increases heart and lung function, improves daily living activities and independence, decreases chances of developing chronic diseases, and improves mental health.

Let’s make fitness attainable for everyone in our communities. Here’s how we can start:

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“Physical Activity is for Everyone,” CDC Vital Signs™. National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Division of Human Development and Disability. CDC. May 2014

Do you or a loved one have a disability? Are you looking for ways to stay fit? Here are some quick tips:

  • Talk to a doctor before you begin.
  • Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activities.
  • Do strengthening activities 2 days a week.
  • Find support and stick with it.

Read more tips on healthfinder.gov, and share them with your loved ones!

Progress on Childhood Obesity Prevalence!

Recent research published in JAMA has shown obesity prevalence has decreased among children ages 2-5 years.

Read more in a statement from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO, Risa Lavizzo-Mourey.

http://www.rwjf.org/en/about-rwjf/newsroom/newsroom-content/2014/02/robert-wood-johnson-foundation-statement-on-obesity-rates—lets-.html?cid=xem_a8049

Addressing Diabetes Prevention During National Diabetes Awareness Month

Contributed by: YMCA

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and the Y is working to build awareness of prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes, and it’s a condition that is directly improved with physical activity. 

An estimated one in three adults in the U.S. (79 million people) has prediabetes, yet just 11 percent of those individuals know they have it. People with prediabetes have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke.

In 2010, YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance to roll out the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. The program is based on the landmark Diabetes Prevention Program tested by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which showed lifestyle changes and modest weight reduction reduce the number of new cases of diabetes by 58%—and by 71% in individuals over age 60.

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is a year-long program beginning with 16 one-hour weekly classroom sessions led by trained lifestyle coach. The program provides a supportive environment where participants work in small groups to learn about healthier eating and increasing their physical activity in order to reduce their risk for diabetes.  Following these weekly sessions, participants meet monthly for added support in reaching the main program goals of reducing body weight by 5-7 percent and participating in at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Through lifestyle changes and modest weight reduction, a person with prediabetes can reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes.

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