Methods: One hundred sixty-eight physicians responded to a survey to determine their attitudes and practices related to exercise and the development of exercise prescriptions. The mean age was 45.5 +/- 10.8 years, with the majority being male (86.7%).
Results: The survey found that 48% of the physicians required an exercise history as part of their initial examination and 91% encouraged their patients to participate in regular exercise programs. Seventy percent of the physicians did not develop exercise prescriptions and only 23% were familiar with the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines related to the development of exercise prescriptions. Only a small number of physicians (3%) had ever taken a college-level course related to exercise physiology and the development of exercise programs. The majority (78%) felt that there was a definite need in medical school for a course related to the medical aspects of exercise.
Conclusions: Results of this investigation indicate that while physicians support exercise for health promotion and rehabilitation, greater emphasis needs to be placed on physician involvement in promoting and/or prescribing exercise.