Personal trainers and health clubs are predicting they will see a dramatic increase in referrals coming from medical doctors over the next decade following an announcement by the National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE). Because nearly two thirds of Americans – over 131 million people - are inactive and overweight, and many more are severely obese, physicians are being asked to write prescriptions for exercise. It is these people who receive the prescriptions that the fitness profession is uniting to help.
According to a recent report published in the archives of Internal Medicine, Dr. JoAnn Manson the Chief of Preventive Medicine at Harvard’s Bringham and Women’s Hospital, writing prescriptions for exercise is treating the illness at the root of the problem.
“We’re treating the symptoms of the diseases rather than the root cause,” she said.
Because inactivity and obesity are responsible for at least 300,000 premature deaths and over $90 billion in health care costs each year, this new call to action to write prescriptions for exercise can help change patients’ ways accord to the report.
While doctors will start writing prescriptions for exercise, the fitness profession is gearing up to help. Properly trained personal trainers are experts in this area. Weight training, aerobic conditioning, flexibility, and a sensible diet are the keys to preventing and even reversing many chronic diseases. That’s exactly what personal trainers and other fitness professionals have been trying to teach us for years. But until now there have been no standards in the fitness profession and as a result few physicians refer to personal trainers.
Because over 200 certification companies offer education to personal trainers, it is difficult for the medical community to know who is providing the right advice. In response to the lack of regulations and standards, in 2003 the National Board of Fitness Examiners was commissioned to do just that; demonstrate to the public and the medical community that all Board certified fitness professionals undergo unbiased, criteria-referenced, nationally approved examinations that ensures standardized levels of competency. Successful completion of the National Boards not only assures competency, but will eventually lead to licensing, a process recognized by the medical community.
Dr Sal Arria, Executive Director of the National Board of Fitness Examiners said: “Because this model to determine individual competency has been used successfully by physicians since 1915, the National Board wants to assure the public and the doctors that they can confidently refer patients to Board Certified fitness professionals.”
“Unfortunately, our country is in the worst shape ever, so we applaud physicians for taking a positive stance towards prescribing exercise ... the health and quality of life for literally millions of people rests in their hands. Exercise has been proven as the most powerful disease prevention tool of all. And best of all, the side effect of prescribing weight training, aerobic conditioning, flexibility and sensible nutrition is not only that patients will live longer, but the quality of their lives will be dramatically improved," Dr. Arria stated.
National Board Certified personal trainers and health clubs are in a perfect position to help physicians address the 80% of Americans who don’t use trainers or go to gyms.
"As more and more physicians start writing prescriptions for exercise, the fitness industry can expect explosive growth over the next five to ten years.”
Article by health writer Kate Wiley (website down).
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