I was recently asked what I would advise the next President to make his number one public health priority. I said exercise, and here’s why:
Increasing the physical activity of Americans will have tremendous public health benefits, since it will fundamentally help address many conditions that significantly reduce overall public health, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, and mental illnesses. In addition, exercise initiatives can be constructed as public-private partnerships, built collaboratively with a number of advocacy groups, and would require minimal Federal spending.
I was reminded about the importance of exercise when I recently ran across a reference to a December 2006 Archives of Internal Medicine article reporting on a study that found weight loss in overweight 50-60 year old men and women would lead to significant bone loss in the hip and spine if it was accomplished through dieting, but not when exercise was the primary route for the weight loss.
What do you think the next President should make his highest priority for public health?