In an effort to decrease the epidemic of physical inactivity and to reduce the risk factors for non-communicable chronic diseases (NCDs), clinicians must routinely assess and promote physical activity in adult patients. This according to a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) that provides recommendations for healthcare systems, clinical and community care providers, fitness professionals, the technology industry, and other stakeholders in order to catalyze increased adoption of physical activity assessment and promotion in healthcare settings and to contribute to meeting the AHA’s 2020 Impact Goals. Among the statement’s highlights and recommendations:
- Make physical activity assessment a priority in all visits, particularly when the focus is cardiovascular disease (CVD) evaluation and management or preventive care.
- Methods to capture physical activity information can include electronic medical records (captured via self-reports or via wearable devices).
- As recommended by the physical activity guidelines for Americans, a comprehensive assessment of physical activity should include engaging in muscle-strengthening, resistance, and flexibility exercises for major muscle groups at least twice a week.
- Identify behavioral readiness with the transtheoretical model of behavior change to help tailor the physical activity counseling.
- To make physical activity promotion efforts more credible and motivating, physicians should ensure that they “walk the talk” themselves.
Lobelo F, Young DR, Sallis R, et al. Routine assessment and promotion of physical activity in healthcare settings. A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. [Published online ahead of print April 4, 2018]. Circulation. doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000559.