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Tomorrow's doctors need to be trained to deliver safe and effective exercise advice, for tomorrow's patients. These doctors will tackle the burden of preventable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory conditions. They will also prescribe exercise as an integral part of the prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, recovery and survivorship of many chronic diseases or non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
Educating future doctors aligns with the WHO ‘25 by 25’ goals to reduce physical inactivity by 10%, by 20251 and the Toronto Charter for NCD prevention: Investments that work for physical activity.2 The Toronto Charter demonstrates that doctors are important influencers of patient behaviour and key initiators of NCD prevention actions within healthcare systems, and can influence large proportions of the population, especially their patients. Tomorrow's doctors, trained in exercise medicine, will be able to meet the burden of disease and ill health competently, confidently and capably: by being proactive on prevention and specific in their treatment with physical activity advice.
Unfortunately, undergraduate medical schools in the UK are not giving a high priority to exercise advice. Evidence shows there is widespread omission of basic teaching elements,3 such as the Chief Medical Officer recommendations and guidance on physical activity. Without a larger commitment from medical school deans, to provide this education, tomorrow's doctors will not be equipped to provide physical …