Too Few Doctors are Prescribing Exercise a new study suggests.

Using data from a government health survey, researchers found that only one-third of U.S. adults with high blood pressure said their doctors had counseled them on getting regular exercise. But of those who did get such advice, 71 percent followed it and had lower blood pressure than their counterparts who remained inactive, the investigators report in the journal Ethnicity & Disease.

The findings are based on a federal health survey that included 4,686 U.S. adults with high blood pressure. Of these participants, 33 percent said their doctors had told them to exercise regularly to help lower their blood pressure.

Dr. Josiah Halm, of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and his colleagues suggest that doctors think about exercise as a prescription, and actually write down on a prescription pad the type, intensity and duration of exercise each patient should try.

SOURCE: Ethnicity & Disease, Summer 2008.

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