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January 9, 2013

Changing Physical Activity Participation for the Medical Profession

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Health Policy and Management, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research, UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, California (Drs Yancey and Bastani); UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity, Los Angeles, California (Drs Yancey and Bastani); and Department of Family Medicine, Fontana Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Fontana (Dr Sallis).

JAMA. 2013;309(2):141-142. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.127989

Being sedentary is a way of life for many health professionals who have been in practice, as is true for those in many other professions. Meetings, grand rounds, charting, dictation, outpatient interaction, classroom teaching, and medical conferences result in hours with little movement and much less moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) at the level recommended by the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

As Lesser et al1 recently pointed out, health professionals have called for changes in the food environment in their communities, and yet little attention has been paid to the nutrient-poor quality of the food where physicians work, meet, and learn. Just as problematic, and despite its minimal cost and proven value to health, essentially no attention has been directed toward incorporating short bouts of physical activity into the organizational routine during meetings, conferences, and other ordinary, daily medical professional gatherings.2