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Educating medical students and other health professionals in training on the importance of healthy lifestyles for prevention and treatment of disease is essential to transforming healthcare. At the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville (USC SOM Greenville), we are incorporating the ‘Exercise is Medicine’ Knowledge, Skills and Abilities into all 4 years of the undergraduate medical curriculum to inform future physicians on the medical benefits of exercise and physical activity. As a partner with the Greenville Health System (GHS), USC SOM Greenville is striving to transform healthcare for the benefit of the people and communities it serves by healing compassionately, teaching innovatively and improving constantly. In addition, USC SOM Greenville and GHS are fostering relationships with the local YMCAs to improve healthcare delivery in upstate South Carolina using the ‘Exercise is Medicine’ solution. The overarching goal is to demonstrate how physician-counselling and referrals for physical activity and exercise play a well-documented role in primary and secondary prevention for reducing morbidity and mortality from non-communicable chronic diseases. In partnership with the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine (ILM) at Harvard Medical School, USC SOM Greenville also strives to spearhead a ripple effect in exercise curriculum by modelling for other medical school leaders throughout the country on how to adopt similar changes in curriculum and training for medical school students. Physician education regarding the benefits of exercise is vital for transforming healthcare.
Exercise counselling as part of healthcare delivery would have numerous evidence-based benefits for prevention and treatment of multiple non-communicable chronic diseases (NCDs) including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and various forms of cancer.1–4 In addition, physician-based exercise counselling likely would have a major impact on reducing associated healthcare costs.5 Unfortunately, the majority of physicians, traditionally trained to manage disease and injury, have not been educated in the medical, …
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