In early January 2015, my travels took me to Indianapolis and the headquarters of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) to attend the planning meeting for the 2015 ACSM Annual Meeting and World Congress on Exercise is Medicine. This was a tough trip due to severe weather in the Midwest which caused me to miss my connecting flight and have to spend a night in Chicago. Despite all that, I finally made it and am excited by what looks like an outstanding program for the meeting that will be held close to home for me in San Diego May 26-30, 2015. The ACSM Annual Meeting is my favorite meeting of the year and quite simply the best sports medicine and exercise science meeting on the planet that brings together the top experts in the field to discuss the latest research and advances.
This year marks the 6th World Congress on Exercise is Medicine (EIM) and has caused me to reflect on how this simple idea has spread around the world since it was launched as an initiative back in November of 2007, when I served as ACSM president. The goal has been to make physical activity assessment and exercise prescription a standard part of the disease prevention and treatment paradigm for all patients. Since that launch in 2007, the idea has resonated around the world and EIM has spread to 43 countries with 7 regional centers to help coordinate efforts.
EIM was inspired by the great work of many outstanding ACSM scientists who have quite clearly proven the power of exercise to prevent and treat disease and extend life. In fact, it is hard to find any disease I see in my office as a family physician that not been shown in various studies to be helped by exercise. For that reason, at the heart of EIM is the commitment to getting all healthcare providers to ask their patients about exercise at every visit by using an Exercise Vital Sign (EVS). We started using the EVS at Kaiser Permanente Southern California in 2009 and its use has spread to all Kaiser Regions, so that every patient gets asked about their exercise habits at every visit.
Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to getting our patients more active was further demonstrated a few years back when former Chairman and CEO George Halvorson conceived Every Body Walk!, the campaign to get America Walking. And like EIM, this idea has gained remarkable acceptance and spread with well over 150 partner organizations and a web site that has nearly 2 million views, not to mention a documentary film (The Walking Revolution) and public television show (City Walk).
So it’s been quite a ride and we have come a long way, but there still is much to do. The next phase for EIM and EBW is to develop programs and plans that will lead clear increases in walking across the country and around the world. Thank you for reading my blog and helping to spread the word on the importance of walking to good health.
Keep on Walking!
*Photo Caption – walking in snowy Indianapolis with ACSM Past President Dr. Bill Dexter.