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American Academy of Family Physicians and International Council on Active Aging Partner to Encourage Aging Population to be More Active
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 17, 2005
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5221
International Council on Active Aging
VANCOUVER, British Columbia and LEAWOOD, Kan. (March 17, 2005) - Second only to tobacco, obesity and physical inactivity are responsible for the most deaths in the United States annually, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC and many others in recent years have called for doctors to prescribe exercise to reduce the death and disease associated with these preventable causes. Now the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the Leawood, Kan. - based national association of family doctors, and the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA), the world's largest trade association for the senior fitness and wellness industry, are taking action on this issue. Through their partnership, these organizations strive to boost physical activity among adults ages 50 and older.
The overarching goals of the AAFP/ICAA relationship are twofold:
- Help physicians take better care of themselves, so they become healthy-living role models for patients.
- Help physicians inform patients about physical activity and aging, such as choosing appropriate exercise and how to participate safely.
"Family physicians receive 210 million office visits each year," says Michael Fleming, M.D., Board Chair of the AAFP, "and each visit represents an opportunity for change." Since October 2003, Fleming has personally committed to and championed Americans in Motion (AIM), a 10-year AAFP initiative designed to improve the physical activity, nutrition and emotional well-being of individuals, families and communities. "The AAFP created AIM to encourage and support individual family physicians addressing fitness in their practices and communities," says Fleming. "This partnership with the ICAA fits perfectly with our AIM initiative and will provide family physicians with the tools they need to positively affect physical activity levels."
"In 2003, the ICAA and three other organizations called on physicians to help solve the prevalence of ill health among older adults in the United States by prescribing exercise and other lifestyle changes," says Colin Milner, the ICAA's chief executive officer. The call to action recommended 10 actions physicians could take. These actions included partnering with national fitness/wellness industry associations, becoming more educated about exercise and its benefits, and becoming role models by embracing active lifestyles, all actions the AAFP is undertaking. "We commend the AAFP for showing leadership within the medical community," says Milner. "We're delighted to work with this organization and its members to improve physical activity among older Americans."
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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 110,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is 240 million office visits each year — nearly 87 million more than the next largest medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.
To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org.
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