American College of Sports Medicine, Medical Fitness Association, American Council on Exercise join forces to introduce the “Exercise is Medicine Solution”


To jointly address the rapid progression of chronic diseases and skyrocketing health care costs, Exercise is Medicine®(EIM), a global health initiative managed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), along with the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the Medical Fitness Association (MFA) recently announced a new initiative to bring together healthcare systems, clinicians, fitness professionals and community resources to affect positive health outcomes and reduce health care costs.

The initiative, the Exercise is Medicine Solution, marks the beginning of the next phase of EIM’s strategy. EIM Vice President Adrian Hutber described the strategy in a media release as being “to engage major health systems and communities and work together to improve health and combat chronic diseases by promoting physical activity and fitness.”

The recent announcement was made at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. and included a keynote by 18th U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D. Benjamin called prevention imperative as more American families struggle to deal with chronic diseases. “Much of the illness and early death related to these chronic diseases can be prevented by increased physical activity.” Benjamin said. “The EIM Solution is an innovative approach that, through a prescription, links the medical profession with physical activity professionals and community resources. I commend these organizations for their vision and leadership.”

The EIM Solution’s multipronged approach has never been implemented in the US and will include physical activity counseling, as well as prescription and referral strategies, particularly those linking health care and community-based resources. Ultimately, the goal is to achieve global targets for the reduction of inactivity, related morbidity and mortality, and health care costs.

Greenville Health System in South Carolina, which is among the 20 largest health systems in the US, is the first to fully adopt the EIM Solution. “The EIM initiative and solution align perfectly with GHS’ vision to transform health care for the benefit of the people and communities we serve,” said Sean Bryan, M.D., chair of the Department of Family Medicine at GHS.

Components adopted by GHS include:

  • Incorporating Exercise is Medicine as required teaching into all four years of curriculum to educate future physicians on the health benefits of exercise.
  • Incorporating physical activity as a vital sign in their EPIC Electronic Medical Record (EMR)
  • Using EIM Your Prescription for Health patient education material in the EPIC EMR
  • Employing a full-time EIM Coordinator to take patient referrals and work with them to refer to either Greenville Healthcare System Medical Fitness Center or one of the Greenville community Y locations
  • Onboarding Coordinator at the Y will receive all patient referrals, meet with them for onboarding and assign them to an EIM group physical activity class

As part of the EIM Solution, physicians can refer their patients to qualified exercise professionals who hold the EIM Professional Credential, addressing an often missing component of physician-prescribed treatment plans. “Fitness professionals are uniquely qualified to help people on a journey of lifestyle change, particularly those with specific training and accredited certifications in health coaching,” said ACE Chief Science Officer Cedric Bryant, PhD. “As one of the largest certifying bodies in the United States, ACE will work with ACSM and MFA to reinforce standards for well-qualified health and fitness professionals that will solidify trust between the medical and fitness communities, for the benefit of patients and consumers.”

According to Bob Boone, president and CEO of the Medical Fitness Association, the partnership with ACSM and ACE will provide the infrastructure needed to help the EIM Solution succeed by bringing together researchers, professional credentialing bodies and medically integrated facilities. “Creating accountability, motivation and appropriate follow-up for lifestyle interventions is the key to making Exercise is Medicine a cornerstone of preventive medicine and chronic disease management,” said Boone. “The combined efforts of our partnership will enable us to provide even more measurable, value-based care and outcomes that will drive improvements in population health – delivered one person at a time.”

For more about the Exercise is Medicine Program, visit the website at www.exerciseismedicine.org.

Latest Headlines

Thalacker-Mercer appointed as the Associate Director of UCEM 

Thalacker-Mercer appointed as the Associate Director of UCEM 

Anna Thalacker-Mercer, PhD, assistant professor in the UAB Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology has been appointed as the Associate Director of UCEM. Dr. Thalacker-Mercer has been very active with UAB since her postdoctoral fellowship at UAB in 2007[…]

UCEM Fall 2021 Research Retreat

UCEM Fall 2021 Research Retreat

The UAB Center for Exercise Medicine hosted its Fall 2021 Research Retreat on November 4 and 5, 2021 at the Lakeshore Foundation. The two half-day event featured 10-minute presentations of 30 investigators at UAB conducting exercise medicine research. The retreat[…]

Upcoming Events