Physical Activity as a Vital Sign in Health Care Monitoring
Updated: Jan 18, 2019
HKU’s Centre for Sports and Exercise (CSE) and University Health Services (UHS) have been collaborating on an exercise referral system whereby the Physicians and Exercise Specialists work together to refer exercise when necessary with the aim of making people more active and reducing sedentary behavior.
Throughout the years the UHS and CSE have continued to build trust together and have worked closely to help spread the message that Exercise is Medicine.
According to assessments done by UHS and CSE findings showed that of 400 staff and students at the University of Hong Kong, 28% of them were found to have elevated blood pressure, 60% of them were inactive and 30% of them were overweight or obese. As a result of these such findings CSE and UHS saw the need to formally conduct a pilot exercise referral scheme, whereby patients in need of more exercise opportunities could be properly referred to the care that they need.
In this exercise referral scheme, physical activity is looked at as a vital sign just as physicians would see blood pressure, pulse and body temperature as vital signs. So when patients go to UHS they are asked questions about their level of activity. If they are generally healthy, but inactive, the physician would make suggestions about exercises to do based on prepared exercise guideline sheets. For conditions that warrant greater care and attentions, such as for patients with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer or other diseases, the UHS physician will make a specific referral to the CSE exercise specialist. In this approach physical activity is addressed at the key timepoint where the patient meets his/her physician.
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