FRIDAY, June 3 (HealthDay News) -- Medical students who are
physically fit are more likely to encourage their future patients
to exercise, according to a new study.
Researchers found that medical students who had normal
cholesterol levels and who met the current U.S. physical activity
guidelines often felt strongly that being active themselves would
set a better example for the people they were treating.
In analyzing certain markers of physical health -- such as
cardiorespiratory fitness -- and attitudes on physical-activity
counseling in 577 medical students over the course of five years,
the investigators found that 80 percent of students believed
physical-activity counseling would be highly relevant in their
future clinical practice.
The study authors, led by Dr. Felipe Lobelo, health scientist
with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pointed
out that the students who said exercise counseling was important
were in good shape themselves. In fact, they were 1.7 times more
likely to exhibit healthy levels of cardiorespiratory fitness and
3.2 times more likely to have normal triglyceride (blood fat)
levels than students who didn't believe exercise was as
"I'm a strong believer in doctors practicing what they preach, and I think this study illustrates the concept perfectly because it's based on doctors' objective markers of health," Lobelo said in a news release from the American College of Sports Medicine.
"Previous evidence indicates that nearly two-thirds of patients would be more willing to become physically active if their doctors advise it, and these patients find an active, healthy doctor's advice more credible and motivating. It is critical for current and future doctors to understand the public health importance of providing physical activity counseling to every patient," Lobelo concluded.
The findings were scheduled for presentation this week at the
annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, held in
conjunction with the World Congress on Exercise Is Medicine, in
Denver. Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the
data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until
published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on the link
exercise and health.