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Exercise is Medicine Charter

Inaugural World Congress on Exercise is Medicine
American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting
Baltimore, June 1, 2010


This Charter is the product of the First Exercise is Medicine® World Congress, held June 1-5, 2010 in Baltimore, MD in conjunction with the American College of Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting. Conferees participating in this World Congress include scientists and clinicians from countries around the globe who are dedicated to increasing understanding of how physical activity may be applied to meet individual and collective human needs for promoting quality of life, human health, and disease management on a global scale. Primarily, this Charter is aimed at motivating global action to affirm physical activity as an integral part of health promotion and disease prevention and treatment. The World Congress and this document build on and are inspired by the World Health Organization’s Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health; support the Toronto Charter for Physical Activity, and position Exercise is Medicine to lead the development of scientific evidence, public policy and global action supporting physical activity as an integral part of health care systems around the world.

About Exercise Is Medicine®

Co-launched by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Medical Association in November 2007, Exercise is Medicine is an initiative committed to the belief that physical activity is integral to the prevention and treatment of disease, should be regularly assessed as part of all medical care, and should be a standard part of the disease prevention and treatment medical paradigm. Exercise is Medicine calls for all health care providers to consider physical activity a vital sign and for physicians to effectively counsel their patients and/or refer them to a qualified health-and-fitness or allied health professional for further counseling. Exercise is Medicine is also committed to the belief that the benefits of physical activity are not confined solely to the traditional health care settings. Exercise and physical activity strategies, as integral parts of prevention and treatment of disease, should be addressed at many levels including in the community, recreational settings, schools and the workplace.

Global Initiative

Exercise is Medicine is well positioned to expand its roles and contributions to improving global public health through serving and connecting individuals, organizations and countries. Activating Exercise is Medicine as a global initiative spurs worldwide progress in the promotion of physical activity and disease prevention. The initiative engages individuals as both exercise counselors and advocates, medical societies and governmental agencies as partners, and countries as collaborators to make Exercise is Medicine a global initiative. The inaugural World Congress on Exercise is Medicine in 2010, and those that follow, serve as an international forum to address the science, practice and policy aspects of the impact that physical activity has on disease prevention and health promotion. Scientific advancements, practices, policies and health impacts investigated and measured in different settings worldwide will be shared in the future World Congresses and generate yet more creative and successful strategies that further advance the goals of this initiative. All Exercise is Medicine initiatives recognize and are sensitive to the diversity of participating organizations and individuals including but not limited to culture, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.

Guiding Principles

The guiding principles of Exercise is Medicine, shared by many multi-national organizations, are designed to improve the health and well-being of all people through promotion of regular physical activity. Such efforts include regular physical activity prescription from doctors and other health care providers, and/or counseling from a health and fitness professional, working in conjunction with the health care provider. Of primary importance are exercise promotion and counseling in all settings, including the community, recreational activities, schools and the workplace. The guiding principles are as follows:

  • Exercise and physical activity are important to health and the prevention and treatment of many chronic diseases.
  • More should be done to address physical activity and exercise.
  • Multi-national, multi-organizational efforts are encouraged to bring a greater focus on physical activity and exercise.


The participants and partnering organizations present at this conference and those signed below make the commitment to:

  • Promote exercise as an integral part of the prevention and treatment of disease
  • Support the efforts of the Exercise is Medicine Consortium to reshape public policy to include physical activity as an integral part of all communities’ health care paradigm and their solutions for disease prevention and treatment.
  • Support the efforts of the Exercise is Medicine Consortium to:
    • Recognize and implement physical activity as a vital sign
    • Advocate that health care providers provide patients with exercise counseling during every office visit and/or refer patients to a qualified health-and-fitness or allied health professional for further counseling
    • Advocate for increased funding for research and implementation of physical activity strategies and promotion
    • Educate, inform and empower patients to regularly seek appropriate counseling on physical activity.

Call to Action

Therefore, this Charter calls upon the participants of the Inaugural World Congress, all partners, and all organizations and individuals signed below to advocate for exercise as an essential part of every discussion on health and well-being, for increased cooperation between the medical and fitness fields, and for professionals to make this a reality. This World Congress calls on each person dedicated to the idea that exercise truly is medicine to commit to the actions described in this document.

Furthermore, the World Congress calls on all partners to continue to build, support and advocate for physical activity as essential to global health and well-being. National and international organizations are called to join the Exercise is Medicine movement. Policy makers are called to change policy to support physical activity as a vital sign for health. Health care providers and fitness professionals are called to integrate exercise into every interaction with patients and clients and to work more closely together. Communities, workplaces and schools are called to promote physical activity as an essential part of health and well-being.



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