Today, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) put another stake in the ground in its efforts to make physical activity–based behavior-change interventions more integral to the healthcare system. At an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., ACE announced that it is officially joining the Exercise is Medicine (EIM) initiative begun eight years ago by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). This move is one more manifestation of ACE’s mission to get people moving.
We know that 80% or more of what goes wrong with peoples’ health is a result of what we eat, or how we choose to live our lives. Exercise is beneficial to all patients across a wide diversity of conditions. Yet, physicians do not typically assess, monitor, and refer patents for physical-activity counseling.
EIM is a global health initiative that works with the medical community, health systems and exercise professionals to expand the breadth of interventions that incorporate physical activity into treatment plans. It is focused on outcomes, such as, physicians providing better counseling on movement, better integration of community and health care resources, fitness referrals to help patients translate vague recommendations into effective sustainable exercise programs, and a call to action for physicians to prescribe exercise.
EIM is now in more than 40 countries. More than 6,000 physicians have been trained, and more than 9,000 exercise professionals have been trained to receive patient referrals. (Exercise professionals on the EIM register hold professional fitness certifications accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the gold standard for accreditation of healthcare credentials in the United States, or the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17024 accreditation for personnel certification bodies.
Being involved with EIM is great for healthcare consumers and the health and fitness professionals who ACE educates, certifies and represents. ACE provides education and ongoing support to 60,000+ certified health and fitness professionals, a group of people uniquely qualified to help people on their journeys of lifestyle change. Those professional with specialized training and accredited certifications in health coaching are even better equipped to facilitate sustainable lifestyle change. By working one-on-one with clients, or in group fitness settings, health and fitness professionals are perfectly positioned to directly impact the activity levels of our communities.
Fitness is being drawn inextricably toward healthcare, and that is a good thing. The Affordable Care Act presents a unique opportunity to expand patient access to health and fitness professionals. As one of the largest certifying bodies in the United States, ACE will work with its partners to reinforce standards for well-qualified health and fitness professionals to solidify trust between the medical and fitness communities, for the benefit of patients and consumers.