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ACSM In The News

ACSM is fortunate to be the go-to source on sports medicine and exercise science for several national and international media outlets. You can find some of our most recent coverage below, or you can view archived articles.  

Healthy Doctors Can Equal Healthy Patients

by User Not Found | Aug 01, 2011
Medical students’ knowledge of physical activity leads to compliance, counseling

INDIANAPOLIS – Medical school appears to be the perfect venue to teach future doctors about the benefits of physical activity, and encourage them to “prescribe” to patients, according to a study presented today at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 55th Annual Meeting.

John Duperly, M.D, Ph.D., and Felipe Lobelo, M.D., lead authors of the study, found that when Colombian medical students had adequate knowledge about the health benefits and counseling aspects of physical activity, they had higher levels of physical activity themselves and were more likely to include physical activity recommendations in their future practice. The “Healthy Doctor = Healthy Patient” study assessed counseling attitudes, school environment and personal practices of 254 fifth-year students from eight medical schools in Bogota, Colombia.

“This is a perfect example of how a healthy doctor can lead to healthy patients,” Duperly said. “The more future doctors know about – and perform – exercise, the more they realize its value as a preventive and therapeutic tool. Medical schools should do more to train doctors on the pivotal role of activity for health, on how to routinely counsel patients about exercise and to teach them why this information is crucial to patient knowledge.”

The research aligns with ACSM’s Exercise is Medicine™ program, which calls on healthcare professionals to counsel patients about the benefits of physical activity. An ACSM survey found that 65 percent of patients would be more interested in exercising to stay healthy if advised by their doctor and given additional resources.

In addition, a quarter of patients said they turn first to their doctor for advice on this subject, making the exercise counseling aspect of a medical practice that much more important.

“Healthcare professionals are in a unique position to make a significant impact on their patients when it comes to exercise,” said Robert E. Sallis, M.D., FACSM, ACSM President and chair of the Exercise is Medicine™ Task Force. “The advice they give patients has an added element of credibility not found elsewhere. It’s important that more medical schools give students the tools they need to pass along the health benefits of exercise to patients.”

Exercise has been proven to treat and prevent numerous chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and more. Sallis says he’s confident that if the benefits of exercise could be captured in pill form, it would be the most widely prescribed drug in the world.

Exercise is Medicine™ also encourages patients to start a conversation about physical activity with their doctor if it is not routinely discussed. Healthcare professionals and patients alike can find resources at


The  American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 20,000 international, national, and regional members are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

The conclusions outlined in this news release are those of the researchers only, and should not be construed as an official statement of the American College of Sports Medicine.

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