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VOLUME 54 , ISSUE 4 ( October-December, 2020 ) > List of Articles


Exercise as Medicine—Evidence for Prescribing Exercise for the National Health Priority Areas: An Umbrella Review

Philippa J Inge, Nirmala KP Perera, John W Orchard, Leigh Golding

Citation Information : Inge PJ, Perera NK, Orchard JW, Golding L. Exercise as Medicine—Evidence for Prescribing Exercise for the National Health Priority Areas: An Umbrella Review. J Postgrad Med Edu Res 2020; 54 (4):178-205.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10028-1381

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 01-12-2020

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2020; The Author(s).


Objective: To describe the relationship between exercise and Australia's nine national health priority areas (NHPAs), which are arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions, asthma, cancer control, cardiovascular health, dementia, diabetes mellitus, injury prevention and control, mental health conditions, and obesity. Materials and methods: CINAHL, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, PubMed, and SPORTDiscus were searched from 2007 to 2017, inclusive. Included were systematic reviews and meta-analyses reporting the effect of exercise on development, management, and treatment of Australia's NHPAs. Results: A total of 74 studies were fulfilling the inclusion criteria. Moderate exercise effectively treats and manages symptoms of osteoarthritis. Exercise improves maximal oxygen uptake in patients with asthma, prevents breast cancer, and reduces hospital admissions for patients with heart failure. Exercise significantly reduces the risk of type II diabetes mellitus and assists weight control. Exercise reduces the risk of vascular dementia, delays cognitive decline, and is effective in falls prevention. Exercise reduces symptoms of anxiety and is an effective treatment for people with depression. Conclusion: Exercise had a positive/beneficial effect in all nine NHPAs. However, it doesn't have universal beneficial effect for every subdisease. From a clinical perspective, prescription of exercise to assist in the management and/or prevention of all of the nine NHPAs should be encouraged. Implications for public health: Exercise has a critical role in the national public health strategy for the prevention and treatment of diseases related to inactivity.

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