In mid-March my travels took me back to Doha to lecture at the Aspetar Clinic and help with plans to launch Exercise is Medicine – Qatar. I had previously been there back in December to lecture at the Excellence in Pediatrics meeting and take part in the 2013 Active Healthy Living Summit. Once again, I came away very impressed with this countries commitment to promoting walking and healthy lifestyles.

It is clear there is a growing world-wide consensus on the importance of connecting fitness with healthcare, and that healthcare systems cannot continue such a singular focus on pills and procedures as their sole offering. There is no better example of this than the state of healthcare in the United States, where we are spending insane amounts of money on healthcare, yet achieving horrible results in terms of population health and longevity. We cannot hope to turn this around without shifting a good deal of the focus off of pills and procedures, and onto promoting exercise and healthy eating. I believe that physicians and the healthcare industry have got to become spokespersons for physical activity and prescribe exercise to every patient we see.

Connecting fitness with healthcare has been the goal of the Exercise is Medicine initiative from the start and this is what I talked about in Doha. I believe that every patient should be asked about their exercise habits at every visit and those who are not doing at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week should be provided with an exercise prescription. For me, the default exercise prescription is simply walking, at a brisk or moderate pace, for 30 minutes on five or more days each week. And that is the focus of the Every Body Walk! campaign and this website. If patients around the world would only do this, we would no doubt see dramatic improvements in health and longevity, along with dramatic reductions in healthcare spending.

Of course, while I was in Doha I made sure to do a lot of walking. I had a great time visiting with my good friend Dr. Karim Khan, who is the editor-in-chief of the British Journal of Sports Medicine and a great supporter of the Every Body Walk! campaign and Exercise is Medicine. The picture shows us walking inside the beautiful mall at the Aspire Zone there in Doha.

Thank you for reading my blog and for spreading the message of Every Body Walk!