In September 2016, my travels took me to Denver, Colorado to participate in a meeting of the “Prescription for Activity Task Force”. This Task Force was assembled by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) to “think big” about what healthcare systems can do to foster a culture that truly values and celebrates physical activity. Of course this is really a passion of mine, so I was honored to join a group of respected colleagues from around the country to try and tackle this monumental task.
We met for 2 days at a hotel near the Denver Airport for a series of discussions on how best to merge fitness with healthcare, so that patients understand that exercise is medicine that can prevent and treat virtually all chronic diseases. I truly believe that getting America more active (by walking) is the single biggest thing we can do to improve health across the country. And I am not alone in thinking this, as leading authorities have increasingly recommended that physical activity interventions will reduce healthcare costs, improve health outcomes and make for better patient experiences. The vision of the task force is that behavior interventions, with a strong emphasis on physical activity, can be readily accessible, delivered by trusted members of the patient-centered team, reimbursable by payers and integrated into patient records.
Among the 30+ members of this task force were executives from allied health and health advocacy organizations, senior VP-level leaders at health insurance plan providers, world renowned physicians, the nation’s most sought-after voices on preventive care and more. We used a “Theory of Change” format to guide our discussions and planning in hopes that this will lead to a plan for sustainable implementation. Since this meeting, we have had an ongoing series of conference calls and correspondence to polish the many ideas that were developed in Denver. Stay tuned for the final plan which will no doubt suggest walking as a key strategy toward getting America more active and healthy.
Of course, while in Denver I made sure to get out for a walk. The weather was beautiful and I enjoyed the opportunity to take a long walk thru downtown Denver. As I have said before, there is no better way to explore a city than by going for a walk.
I hope this blog finds you healthy and walking every day.
Keep walking my friends!