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CDC report shows exercise becoming a popular prescription among doctors

Doctors and health-care professionals are increasingly talking to patients about how physical activity can benefit their health and recommending that they regularly exercise. That's according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report examined trends in the prevalence of U.S. adults receiving advice to exercise among those who had seen a health professional in the past 12 months. WebMD reports:

In 2010, 1 in 3 adults who saw a doctor or other health care professional was advised to increase their physical activity as a means of maintaining or improving their health. That's a significant increase over 2000, when less than a quarter of consultations included such advice.


It's an important development, the report indicates, because patients listen to their doctors. According to a 2008 study, overweight patients were nearly five times more likely to exercise if their doctors counseled them to do so. They were even more likely to keep active if their doctor followed up with them after the initial prescription.

Other key findings include:

  • Among adults aged 85 and over, the percentage receiving advice to exercise nearly doubled between 2000 (15.3%) and 2010 (28.9%)
  • Receiving advice to exercise increased for adults with hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes
  • Adults who were overweight or obese had the largest percentage point increases over the decade 2000-2010 in being advised to exercise
  • At each time point, women were more likely than men to have been advised to exercise.

Previously: Study shows benefits of exercise for patients with chronic health conditions, How physical activity influences health, Stanford cardiologist discusses the importance of exercise and nutrition for heart health and Researchers find link between fitness and cognition

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