American Academy of Family Physicians' Americans in Motion – Healthy Interventions Fitness Program Completes Fifth Year, With Positive Results

New supporters join effort to promote active lifestyles, balanced nutrition

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Megan Moriarty
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5223

LEAWOOD, Kan. -- As the American Academy of Family Physicians’ Americans in Motion -- Healthy Interventions public health initiative completes its fifth year, the AAFP is pleased to share preliminary data indicating the effectiveness of this effort and recognize the program's current core supporters.

AIM-HI is a program that helps family physicians and their practice staff work with families to prevent and treat obesity and overweight through a multifaceted fitness initiative that incorporates physical activity, healthy eating and emotional well-being.

AIM-HI presents fitness as “the treatment of choice” for prevention and management of many chronic conditions. The initiative helps family physicians and their practices create a fitness focus by raising awareness among clinicians and staff regarding their own personal fitness which, in turn, creates an environment that helps encourage patients to lead active, healthy lifestyles.

To support their patients in achieving better health, AIM-HI offers physicians a set of helpful tools including:

  • a fitness inventory, which gauges a patient's confidence about their fitness and their readiness to change;
  • a fitness prescription, through which the patient and the physician establish mutually agreed-upon goals that are assessed periodically; and
  • a food and activity journal, which helps patients track nutrition and fitness goals.

Initial evaluations of these tools and the AIM-HI philosophy show positive results.

This research project, conducted by the AAFP’s National Research Network, evaluated the effectiveness of the intervention on patient behavioral change and additional physiologic measures of increased exercise and improved diet. Data from the research project indicate that the program can help patients increase physical activity, make healthier dietary choices, lose weight and maintain those lifestyle changes.

Preliminary results from the study, which involved nearly two dozen primary care practices, show:

  • a 10 percent increase in the number of patients who reported physical activity at least 20 minutes a day, three times a week, from baseline to four months and a 10.1 percent increase in the number of patients reporting the same amount of physical activity from baseline to 10 months;
  • a nearly 42 percent increase in the number of patients who ate at least a half serving more of healthy foods each week from baseline to 10 months, and a nearly 45 percent increase in the number of patients who ate at least half a serving less of unhealthy foods each week from baseline to 10 months; and
  • nearly 12 percent of patients lost 10 pounds or more from baseline to four months, and nearly 18 percent lost 10 pounds or more from baseline to 10 months.

“Family physicians are in the perfect position to lead the fight against the obesity epidemic, and AIM-HI is proving to be an effective tool in inspiring and empowering patients to lead more healthy lifestyles,” said Lori Heim, M.D., president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “A household that incorporates physical activity and mindful eating in its day-to-day life together, as a group, is more likely to be happy and healthy. The AIM-HI principles are designed for the entire family.”

The AAFP recognizes the health threat that childhood and adult obesity presents for this nation and is working with its supporters and partner organizations to offer new resources and expand the reach of AIM-HI to more practices.
AIM-HI and its efforts are supported by educational grants from core supporters that include the AAFP Foundation, the National Diary Council, Nature Made and Sanofi-Aventis.

“Preventing and treating overweight and obesity, and promoting healthy, active lifestyles are two of the AAFP’s highest priorities for the health of the public. We are pleased to have the support of these organizations in this important mission,” Heim said. “This support is especially valuable as the AAFP works in concert with the Surgeon General and First Lady's Let's Move campaign to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic by expanding the reach of AIM-HI to more practices and offering new resources.”

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 129,000 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

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