Exercise physiologists: essential players in interdisciplinary teams for noncommunicable chronic disease management
Esme J Soan,1–3 Steven J Street,1,2 Sharon M Brownie,3,4 Andrew P Hills1–3
1Mater Mothers' Hospital, South Brisbane, 2Mater Research Institute – University of Queensland, South Brisbane, 3Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia; 4Green Templeton College, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
Abstract: Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus, are a growing public health challenge in Australia, accounting for a significant and increasing cost to the health care system. Management of these chronic conditions is aided by interprofessional practice, but models of care require updating to incorporate the latest evidence-based practice. Increasing research evidence reports the benefits of physical activity and exercise on health status and the risk of inactivity to chronic disease development, yet physical activity advice is often the least comprehensive component of care. An essential but as yet underutilized player in NCD prevention and management is the "accredited exercise physiologist," a specialist in the delivery of clinical exercise prescriptions for the prevention or management of chronic and complex conditions. In this article, the existing role of accredited exercise physiologists in interprofessional practice is examined, and an extension of their role proposed in primary health care settings.
Keywords: interdisciplinary team, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, exercise physiology, accredited exercise physiologist
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