Disease Management Update
Volume V, No. 16
August 14, 2008
Dear Healthcare Intelligence Network Client,
Exercise and fitness are integral components in the health of any patient. While it might seem obvious that people who exercise are generally healthier than those who do not, two recent studies examine how exercise is improving the health and quality of life of its participants and the role PCPs play in getting their patients to exercise.
And visit HIN's blog to find out how the American Council on Exercise rates Nintendo Wii as an alternative to "traditional" exercise.
Your colleague in the business of healthcare,
Editor, Disease Management Update
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Table of Contents
- Running Slows the Aging Process
- Disease Management Q&A: Exercise in Health Coaching
- HealthSounds Podcast: Assessing a Patient's Quality of Life
- Exercise Can Lead to Drop in Blood Pressure
- Survey of the Month: Obesity Management and Prevention
- Health & Wellness Coaching in 2008
1. Running Slows the Aging Process
Regular running slows the effects of aging, according to a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine that has tracked 500 older runners for more than 20 years. Elderly runners have fewer disabilities, a longer span of active life and are half as likely as aging nonrunners to die early deaths, the research found.
“The study has a very pro-exercise message,” said James Fries, M.D., an emeritus professor of medicine at the medical school and the study’s senior author. “If you had to pick one thing to make people healthier as they age, it would be aerobic exercise.”
Fries’ team began tracking 538 runners over age 50, comparing them to a similar group of nonrunners. The subjects, now in their 70s and 80s, have answered yearly questionnaires about their ability to perform everyday activities such as walking, dressing and grooming, getting out of a chair and gripping objects. The researchers have used national death records to learn which participants died, and why. Nineteen years into the study, 34 percent of the nonrunners had died, compared to only 15 percent of the runners.
At the beginning of the study, the runners ran an average of about four hours a week. After 21 years, their running time declined to an average of 76 minutes per week, but they were still seeing health benefits from running. On average both groups in the study became more disabled after 21 years of aging, but for runners the onset of disability started later. The effect of running on delaying death has also been more dramatic than the scientists expected. Not surprisingly, running has slowed cardiovascular deaths. However, it has also been associated with fewer early deaths from cancer, neurological disease, infections and other causes.
To learn more about this research, please visit:
2. Disease Management Q&A: Exercise in Health Coaching
Each week, a healthcare professional responds to a reader's query on an industry issue. This week's expert is Margaret Moore, CEO of Wellcoaches Corporation.
Question: What is a fitness coach and what role do they play in health coaching?
Response: (Margaret Moore) The fitness coach is focused on exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the AMA have launched an “Exercise as Medicine” campaign, with a goal of getting physicians exercising and promoting and prescribing exercise. The ACSM is the partner of Wellcoaches in building these professions. We see the fitness coach and perhaps the wellness coach as collaborating with physicians in the exercise domain. There’s more to accomplish than promoting exercise, but this is a great start.
For more details on the PCP's role in health and wellness coaching, please visit:
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3. HealthSounds Podcast: Assessing a Patient's Quality of Life
According to Marilee Donovan, a large part of pain management is self-management. In this podcast, Donovan, regional pain management coordinator with Kaiser Permanente Northwest, discusses Kaiser Permanente's multi-disciplinary chronic pain management program, as well as the measures she relies on to assess pain in and improve the quality of life for her patients.
To listen to this complimentary HIN podcast, please visit:
Exercise Can Lead to Drop in Blood Pressure
Working up a sweat could be the most important lifestyle change people with hypertension can make in their daily lives. Yet, although patients who receive exercise counseling seem to listen, few physicians actually take the time to talk about physical activity with their patients, a large nationwide study finds. Just over one-third of people with a hypertension diagnosis said a clinician told them to increase their physical activity to help lower their blood pressure, and 71 percent of those patients with high blood pressure increased physical activity and saw a drop in blood pressure as a result.
“The blood pressure reduction was unexpected, as this was not a trial to determine whether exercise would reduce blood pressure,” said lead study author Josiah Halm, M.D., a clinical assistant professor of medicine and hypertension specialist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. He added it was safe to conclude that exercise led to the blood pressure drop.
Halm said that physicians should be promoting the use of exercise to help manage hypertension, even if they do not think they have time to. “Clinicians will always decry not having enough time to counsel, but a method of using a prescription pad with exercise recommendations as suggested in the study will help solve this quandary.”
To learn more about this research, please visit:
5. Survey of the Month: Obesity Management and Prevention
In 2004, HHS reclassified obesity from a lifestyle behavior to a medical condition. And for the last decade, many healthcare organizations have directed initiatives at the estimated 67 million obese Americans, 75 million overweight citizens and 10 million overweight children and adolescents. The obesity epidemic triggers upward of $117 billion in healthcare costs annually and is implicated in a host of related health conditions.
To participate in this survey and receive its results, please visit:
6. Health & Wellness Coaching in 2008
Health coaching — with its focus on wellness, prevention and healthy lifestyle choices — has established its value to the healthcare industry. In February 2008, HIN conducted an e-survey on health and wellness coaching programs and received responses from 235 organizations, many of whom have implemented successful coaching programs. This white paper from HIN discusses patient outcomes, factors that contribute to a successful program and the challenges of calculating ROI in a fledgling program.
To download this complimentary white paper, please visit:
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