Exercise is Medicine NS

“What if there was one prescription that could prevent and treat dozens of diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity? Would you prescribe it to your patients? Certainly.”

- Robert E. Sallis, M.D., FACSM, Exercise is Medicine® Task Force Chairman

Over 200 people have been trained at workshops across Nova Scotia in 2017-2018. 

In Nova Scotia many exercise programs and physical activity strategies exist.  The province has committed to system-wide strategies like Thrive! A Plan for a Healthier Nova Scotia (https://thrive.novascotia.ca/) to encourage healthy eating and physical activity to become part of our daily environment.  

The Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) is  leading a new research project called  ‘Exercise is Medicine Nova Scotia” in collaboration with Exercise is Medicine Canada® and with the endorsement of Doctors Nova Scotia (DNS) and support of other provincial organizations including the Diabetes Care Program of Nova Scotia (DCPNS) and NS Cancer Care Program (formerly CCNS). 

The goal of the Exercise is Medicine Nova Scotia research project is to assess the current state of physical activity counseling by healthcare providers in Nova Scotia, Canada and (2) to support physical activity training for physicians and health professionals that will support Nova Scotians to be more active. The ultimate goal is to increase the number of Nova Scotians meeting Canada’s physical activity and sedentary behavior guidelines.

Evidence shows that a prescription for exercise from a physician can improve physical activity levels of “relatively inactive” adults by 10% at year 1 and is cost effective (Elley et al. 2003; Dalziel et al 2006).

About the Exercise is Medicine Nova Scotia project

 Phase 1: Provincial Survey

We asked Nova Scotia family and specialist physicians and other health care professionals who advise patients on physical activity, to complete a short on-line survey about physical activity counseling and exercise prescription for patients.  Over 600 health care providers answered the survey and those results will inform the development of supports for physical activity counseling and exercise prescription in Nova Scotia.  

Phase 2: Provincial Workshops

Beginning in April 2017, workshops to support exercise and physical activity counseling will be offered in various communities across Nova Scotia. The workshops are designed for family and specialist physicians as well as health professionals who counsel patients on physical activity (e.g. nurses, physiotherapists, etc.)  Continuing Professional Development credits may be available for workshop participants. 

Organizing Team:

  • Patrick McGrath, Co-lead, Vice President Research, Innovation and Knowledge Translation, Nova Scotia Health Authority and IWK Health Centre
  • Tricia Cochrane, Co-lead, Vice President Integrated Health Services Program Primary Health Care and Population Health, Nova Scotia Health Authority
  • Jonathon Fowles, Scientific Lead, Director, Centre of Lifestyle Studies, Acadia University
  • Sandra Crowell, Administrative Lead, Program Leader, Research Development, Nova Scotia Health Authority

Project Advisory Committee:

  • Chris Blanchard
  • Andrew Caddell
  • Nerissa Campbell
  • Kevin Chapman
  • Bonnie Doyle
  • Peggy Dunbar
  • Lynn Edwards
  • Mike Kennedy
  • Katie Mallam
  • Daniela Meier
  • Judith Purcell
  • John Ross
  • Elaine Shelton
  • Robert Strang
  • Olga Theou
  • Susan Yungblut
  • Michael Vallis

Organizations Involved:  

Media: Truro Daily News reported on the April 26, 2017 workshop http://www.trurodaily.com/living/2017/5/1/health-care-providers-learn-about-prescribing-exercise.html


Contact(s): Program Leader: Sandra Crowell, 902-473-2273, sandra.crowell@nshealth.ca