A Prescription for Activity


This week, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) convened a meeting to address key issues related to establishing a physical activity prescription at every visit as a medical standard of care. Kaiser Permanante’s own Robert Sallis, MD, was in attendance and helped lead a walking break to visit the Supreme Court. You can find a full set of images from the roundtable here.

Dr. Bob Sallis leads a walking meeting to the Supreme Court.

Dr. Sallis leads a walking meeting to the Supreme Court.

There is overwhelming evidence on the health burden of a sedentary lifestyle, and regular exercise has been proven to prevent and treat a wide range of diseases.  For this reason, every health care provider should be assessing the physical activity habits of their patients and recommending they engage in 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise (like a brisk walk), which is consistent with the U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines.  While it has become a standard of care to ask patients at every visit about smoking and to assess their weight and BMI, exercise is often not routinely assessed.

For this reason, on April 27 and April 28, a roundtable was convened by the American College of Sports Medicine and Kaiser Permanente: A “Call to Action on Making Physical Activity Assessment and Prescription a Medical Standard of Care”.  This was held at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health in Washington, DC, and it was chaired by Robert Sallis, MD, a Kaiser Permanante family physician and chair of the Exercise is Medicine Global Health initiative.  The meeting was attended by individuals representing a range of major medical organizations with a goal of developing a consensus around including physical activity assessment and prescription at each patient visit.  One of the outcomes of the roundtable will be a white paper that outlines a plan to make this happen in the near future.   

This Week at the CTH: Walking Takes Center Stage

U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and Deputy U.S. Surgeon General Boris Lushnia speak to people attending the meeting on the Surgeon General's walking initative.  The meeting was held Tuesday at the Center for Total Health in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and Deputy U.S. Surgeon General Boris Lushniak speak to people attending the meeting on the Surgeon General’s walking initiative. The meeting was held Tuesday at the Center for Total Health in Washington, D.C.

Deputy Surgeon General Lushniak, Surgeon General Benjamin, and Kaiser Permanente's Bob Sallis, MD, lead the meeting attendees in a midday walk around the center's Every Body Walk! wall.

Deputy Surgeon General Lushniak, Surgeon General Benjamin, and Kaiser Permanente’s Bob Sallis, MD, lead the meeting attendees in a midday walk around the center’s Every Body Walk! wall.

How to start a Walking Movement in the United States


With obesity among Americans at an all-time high, it’s more important than ever to encourage people of all ages to be active. On December 5, more than one hundred people convened at the Center for Total Health to formulate a plan to advance walking and activity in the United States. Participants came from a variety of organizations working on transportation, public health, science, medicine, and children’s issues.

Highlights of the day included two walking meetings (indoor and out) for all participants and remarks from the nation’s physician, U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD (seen in the photo above, talking with Kaiser Permanente’s Bob Sallis, MD), Scott Bricker, Executive Director of America Walks, and Tyler Norris, Vice President of Kaiser Permanente.

For more information on the benefits of walking, visit Every Body Walk!’s website or follow them on Twitter. More photos from the event can be seen here.


Initiative Promotes Tracking Exercise as a Vital Sign


A couple years back, Kaiser Permanente began tracking its members exercise habits—Exercise Vital Sign—as a regular part of checking temperature, blood pressure and pulse during routine office visits.  With an electronic health record that tracks that information, they now have a systemic method for collecting important information that will help physicians better advise their patients about lifestyles and health.  This initiative is explored in a recently published study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

The study examined the electronic health records of 1,793,385 Kaiser Permanente Southern California patients ages 18 and older from April 2010 to March 2011 and found that 86 percent of all eligible patients had an exercise vital sign in their record. Of those patients who had an exercise record, one-third were meeting national guidelines for physical activity, and two-thirds were not meeting guidelines. Of those not meeting guidelines, one-third were not exercising at all.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that Americans engage in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, to receive maximal health benefits. The guidelines state that regular physical activity reduces the risk of many adverse health outcomes.

The Exercise Vital Sign is part of Exercise is Medicine ®, a multi-organizational initiative coordinated by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Medical Association to encourage primary-care physicians and other health care providers to include exercise when designing treatment plans for patients.

Check out the interview below with Bob Sallis, MD, for information on the program. You can get more detail on Kaiser Permanente’s study here.

To a Healthy New Year


As so many of us begin 2012 with resolutions for improving our health, let’s not overlook the power of walking. Walking just 30 minutes a day, five days a week, can have a multitude of positive effects on the body and the mind. If you’re looking to incorporate walking into your daily life, the videos we have today provide inspiration and advice. The first video features Bob Sallis, MD, talking about starting a walking program.

And if your New Year’s resolution includes a new gym membership (or actually using the one you already have), the second video features treadmill tips.

For more inspiration, visit the website for the Every Body Walk! campaign (sponsored by Kaiser Permanente). And check out the handy new Every Body Walk! mobile app, which allows users to monitor three important workout elements:  Time walked, distance covered and calories burned.  The app also lets users find nearby walking paths with the use of the mobile device’s GPS and a database of thousands of maps from across the United States.

The app is fully integrated with social media, so users can message friends on Facebook and MeetUp.  It’s interactive and fun — and it’s now available for free at the iTunes App Store and the Android Market.  Watch the brief video tutorial on using the app here.

Mall Walking: Healthy, Social and Safe


This week, the Every Body Walk! campaign spent time with folks who have found their own way to include walking in their day-to-day lives.  For more than 20 years, hundreds of seniors have been gathering at Iverson Mall in Hillcrest Heights, Md., to walk together for an hour, three days a week.  The mall gives the walkers a place to walk that’s both safe and comfortable.  In the video below, several folks share their own stories of why they walk and how they’ve benefited from it.

For more information about the Iverson Mall Walkers, check out the Every Body Walk! profile video of their group here.

Walking, Health and “Smokadiabesity”


We have more highlights from the September 20 Walking Summit held at the Center for Total Health.  This video includes key excerpts from the event’s first panel on Walking and Health, moderated by Robert Sallis, MD – the physician spokesperson for the Every Body Walk! campaign.  The panelists covered topics like the health risks posed by low fitness versus “smokadiabesity,” and the physician’s role in modeling healthy behaviors, especially walking.  Check it out below, and let us know what you think.

Highlights: Every Body Walk! Week Walking Summit


This week, the Every Body Walk! campaign is hosting a series of activities and events in Washington, D.C. to bring focus to the importance of walking — what a difference just 30 minutes a day, five days a week can make.  Yesterday’s Walking Summit at the Center for Total Health brought together thought leaders and health experts to discuss walking: Its many health benefits, how to incorporate it into our daily lives, and how to create more walkable communities. Check out the video below for highlights from the event.

Kicking off yesterday’s summit was keynote speaker George Halvorson, chairman and CEO for Kaiser Permanente.  The first panel, Walking and Health, featured Karim Khan, MD, from the University of British Columbia; Doug Van Zoeren, MD, with Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic; and was moderated by Robert Sallis, MD, with Kaiser Permanente Southern California.  The second panel approached the topic of Walking and Chronic Conditions, and it featured Harold Silverman, PharmD, with the American Diabetes Association; John Arden, PhD, with Kaiser Permanente Northern California; Roquell Wyche, MD, with Washington Hospital Center; and was moderated by Jack Cochran, MD, with The Permanente Federation.  The final panel, Walking and the Community, featured Andre Blackman with the American Heart Association; Scott Bricker with America Walks; Keith Laughlin with Rails to Trails Conservancy; and was moderated by Loel Solomon with Kaiser Permanente.

Interested in learning more?  Check out slides for the presentation by George Halvorson here, and Karim Khan here. For info on all of the Every Body Walk! Week events, including registration info for this Friday’s summit on Kids and Walking (featuring, among others, the Power Rangers), click here.