The weight loss market in the United States of America is worth $60 Billion. Likewise, fitness programs in the U.S. generated $75 billion of revenue in 2015 according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association.
A few years ago, I had the good fortune to be connected with Dr. Khursheed Jeejeebhoy, a senior nutrition researcher from Toronto. He introduced me to the CHANGE idea. “CHANGE” stands for Canadian Health Advanced by Nutrition and Graded Exercise. CHANGE was a collaboration of researchers from across Canada who were working on a protocol to support lifestyle intervention in the primary care setting. As a family doctor with an interest in health promotion, I was very happy to get involved and contribute to the project.
A couple months ago I was asked by a colleague to write an editorial on electronic physical activity trackers. We had recently began a long trip and wanted to see if these physical activity tracking devices could work for our children. A year earlier, I started a project with some of my patients using electronic physical activity (PA) trackers. While I used Fitbit activity trackers, other companies have developed electronic PA trackers, including: Garmin, Jawbone, Nike.
While on a trip recently, I got a first hand experience with the Australian healthcare system. Who would have thought that going to the beach could be so dangerous? The day at the beach with my family seemed unremarkable. We packed our beach bag, brought enough water, snorkels and beach towels. After a few hours of beautiful beach time, we headed back to the vehicle. On this short one kilometre trip back to the vehicle along a dry river bed, my left foot slipped off a stone into the one and only small mud patch along the path and down I went.
As a family doctor, I look after people throughout their life. I often see the impact of lifestyle choices on the health of my patients, both good and bad. An increasing number of my patients have preventable chronic conditions like hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Despite evidence showing that lifestyle interventions could substantially reduce costs and complications of these medical conditions, the application of these results into primary care has been low.
As a family doctor, I look after patients throughout their lives, from birth to death. In addition to helping patient with their health concerns, I am always promoting the benefits of good nutrition and regular physical activity. A few weeks ago, one of my patients motivated by his father passing away from a heart attack took me up on my suggestion to improve his lifestyle. Being very active when he was younger he had lots of ideas on how to increase his physical activity. Where he wanted help was on the diet side.