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Is medical training adequate to promote health and give patients what they need? The role of Sport and Exercise Medicine in 21st century healthcare
  1. Kathryn Greenslade1,
  2. James Nelson1,
  3. Andrew Murray2,3,
  4. Rajeev McCrea-Routray4,
  5. Andrew J Hall1,5
  1. 1 College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2 Sport and Physical Activity Policy Team, Scottish Government, Edinburgh, UK
  3. 3 Physical Activity for Health Research Centre, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  4. 4 Medical Department, Cricket Scotland, Edinburgh, UK
  5. 5 Department of Orthopaedics, Golden Jubilee University National Hospital, Clydebank, UK
  1. Correspondence to Andrew J Hall, The University of Edinburgh College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK; andrew.hall{at}

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A 21st century workforce

The increasing demand for physical activity for health has stimulated a growth of sport and exercise medicine (SEM), which is not reflected in undergraduate medical training.1 Currently programmes fail to provide health professionals with the skills to promote sleep, nutrition and active living, which will restrict clinicians’ ability to address key causes of non-communicable diseases and limit the transition to preventative healthcare.2

This global training issue is reported in North America, Europe, Oceania and the Middle East.3 4 Medical students in the USA are only required to take 8 hours of physical activity education, and in the UK, the total SEM teaching averages 4.5 hours over 5 years. Two-thirds of SEM fellows in the USA had not received instruction on exercise prescription, and a study of graduating doctors in the UK found only half felt comfortable giving physical activity advice.4 5 There has been little change since these findings were published, and there remains an urgent need for improvement.5

Undervaluing musculoskeletal medicine?

One-third of people experience musculoskeletal (MSk) complaints, which are a major cause of ill health and disability. They account for 30% of primary …

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  • Twitter @KatGreenslade, @docandrewmurray, @andrewhallortho

  • Contributors All contributors satisfy the ICMJE criteria for authorship. KG: conceptualisation, data acquisition and analysis, draft writing, final approval. JN: draft writing, final approval. AM: conceptualisation, draft writing, final approval. RM-R: draft writing, final approval. AJH: conceptualisation, draft writing, final approval, supervision.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.