Canadian Medical Association
Physical activity for all Canadians
The CMA shall position the medical profession as a leading proponent of physical activity for all Canadians. (Policy resolution GC04-47)
The role of physicians in prevention and health promotion
Physicians play an essential role in promoting health and preventing disease. Recommendations, highlighted here for their alignment with the EIMC vision, for strengthening this role include:
- As part of daily practice, physicians routinely offer counseling and information to encourage healthy lifestyles including discussions about nutrition and physical activity.
- Physicians are encouraged to work with other health care professionals in the office setting and the community to enhance delivery of these services.
- Undergraduate medical programs, residency training and continuing medical education should give high priority to education in prevention and health promotion including how to deliver these services effectively in an office setting.
(Policy document PD02-02, Update 2001)
Promoting Physical Activity and Healthy Weights
Physicians and other health professionals have an important role to play in promoting physical activity and healthy weight. Physicians can provide advice on physical activity as part of routine physical examinations. Suggestions are provided to help physicians help patients achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Physicians are often a patient’s first point of contact with the health care system; they see patients at “teachable moments” when, because of an associated health condition such as diabetes, they are motivated to change unhealthy behaviours. Seeing the consequences of physical inactivity regularly in their practices, physicians are anxious to work with others to mitigate the epidemic of overweight and obesity by making it easier for Canadians to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives.
CMA supports expansion in the medical school curriculum in the area of prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity and supports continued development of clinical tools to help providers counsel and treat patients effectively. Physicians and the CMA look forward to working with others in developing and implementing (a national) strategy to promote physical activity and healthy weight for all Canadians; this strategy should include support for physicians and other health professionals in counseling patients on healthy weight.
(Policy document PD06-03: See “The role of physicians and the health sector”)
Promotion of physical activity among physicians
The CMA shall vigorously promote physical activity among physicians for the sake of their own wellness, which in turn enhances their ability to care for others and sets an important example in encouraging patients to be physically active. (Policy resolution GC04-52)
The major diseases affecting the quality and quantity of life of Canadians, which include obesity, diabetes, coronary artery disease, depression and cancer, are all linked to physical inactivity. Physicians can encourage patients to use active transportation as a way to boost their physical activity levels and improve their health. They can also lead by example and use active transportation themselves. (Policy document PD09-04)
The CMA encourages all physicians to lead by example by using, facilitating and advocating for the use of active transportation. (Policy resolution GC08-85)