Aim The burden of chronic diseases is rapidly increasing worldwide with estimates of trillions of dollars in annual health care cost and causing millions of deaths every year. Physical activity and exercise are now considered principal interventions for use in primary and secondary prevention of chronic diseases. Physicians are increasingly being called upon to promote physical activity among patients. While increasing physical activity and exercise prescription seems to be a very important solution in prevention of these diseases, lack of physician knowledge as a barrier in this area. In this study, knowledge and viewpoint of medical students about physical activity and exercise prescription were evaluated.
Methods Of the 216 medical students underwent two weeks of elective sports medicine internship program, 65,7% (n = 142, mean age; 24.2 years) was included in the study with returned questionnaire form about sports medicine, International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) form and Short Form Health Survey (SF-36). The internship program was consisted of theoretical and practical sessions for general issues about sports injuries, exercise physiology and exercise prescription in chronic diseases.
Results They reported that 87.8% of them were not aware of sports medicine branch as a residency program. More than two-thirds (69.1%) of the students didn’t have lecture about physical activity counselling nor exercise prescription for previous 5 years of medical education. After two weeks of education program the students who felt sufficient knowledge for physical activity counselling was increased to 76.8% from one-fourth at the beginning. At the end of the internship program almost all of the students decleared to believe benefits of physical activity counselling. The percent of students perceiving that exercise prescription would be highly relevant for diabetes mellitus treatment to their future practice increase during 2 weeks of program, from 59 to 93%. Students who had higher IPAQ scores and SF-36 values as well, were significantly more prone for physical activity counselling (p < 0.05).
Conclusion In conclusion, our results indicate a greater level of physical activity behaviour in medical students is important for future physicians to perform physical activity counselling as preventive medicine approach.
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