Great example of why doctors, public health “professionals” and other similar clueless control freaks should stay the hell away from exercise. They can’t talk about it sensibly, most vastly misunderstand it, and, worst of all, they think we should all pay them to talk about. This incoherent missive from physician Aaron Carroll of the NY Times is an example of what I’m talking about. Aaron Carroll loves exercise (and, to his credit, in this piece he correctly identifies many positive health outcomes from exercise deriving from credible studies published in reputable journals), but he has also wrongly minimized the role of exercise in maintaining a healthy body weight and healthy biomarkers (such as blood pressure and blood glucose).
At the conclusion of this piece, he justifiably criticizes British physicians for misstating and minimizing the value of exercise to good health. As well he should. British physicians have a lot of nerve. Their constituents are amongst the fattest and least active in the industrialized world. But, here’s the real problem…for decades, the medical industry has ignored the value of exercise. Now, all of a sudden, when they can claim that it is “population health” (a completely made up specialty), and they may be able to get paid for “exercise prescriptions,” well, they’re interested. Of course they are. Dollar signs have a funny way of making people interested in things.
I have never met a physician, anywhere in any capacity, who was a trustworthy source of information about exercise. Paying a doctor to talk to you about exercise is a search for fool’s gold.
Doctors and clinics that made efforts to promote exercise to patients needed to engage 12 adults on the subject to get one additional adult to meet recommended levels of activity one year later. That might not sound impressive, but it’s one of the better such results. After the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges wrote its report, an editorial in the BMJ, a prominent medical journal, countered that exercise wasn’t a “miracle cure.” Instead, the authors argued it was “the best buy for public health.”If that’s the best “counterpoint,” then physical activity seems like a no-brainer.