By Wayne Allen
Soon, are doctors will be offering a new type of prescription, one for diet and exercise.
“Most people take their physician as a very credible health advisor. Research shows that if a physician talks to you about your weight, weight loss and or exercise, people are more likely to follow those recommendations,” said Wendi Waugh, Director of Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) Cancer Services/Community Health and Wellness. “We also know when we did the community health needs assessment, many of the people that were surveyed said their physician does not talk to them about healthy habits.”
Those surveyed said their physician did talk to them about quitting smoking, but does not talk to them about healthy eating and exercise.
Waugh said it then dawned on a group she is working with, “why did we not provide a tool for the physicians to be a discussion platform. We thought if we could provide a prescription that says, ‘the doctor says I need to exercise 150 minutes or more a week or the doctor says I need to eat five servings of fruits or vegetables a day,’ Waugh said. “This would not be a prescription someone would take to the drug store, but something they hang on their refrigerator.”
She said this could also be a way for someone to gain family support to being healthy habits.
“The whole concept is, let’s prescribe these healthy habits. Because those are the habits that will (help) prevent heart disease and cancer,”Waugh said.
Waugh said the unique prescription pads will be provided to every physician at SOMC and beyond that wants to use them.
“I know the Scioto County Medical Society has offered to help deploy them. I will be working with the SOMC foundation to deploy them and I will be working through the Scioto County Health Coalition to deploy them,” Waugh said.
She said the potential for this idea could be huge.
“Once the physician hands a patient a prescription to exercise 150 minutes a week, that opens up conversation to talk about their weight and obesity,” Waugh said.
Waugh acknowledged the concept is going to be tough for some people and physicians.
“It’s not going to be easy for physicians to add this to agenda of a patient visit,” Waugh said.
Dr. Aaron Adams, Scioto County Health Commissioner and local physician said this concept could be put to good use in his office.
“I think something like this would give a clear message that has meaning to it. This could have an impact on people if it’s coming from a health care provider,” Adams said. “I used things like this all of the time to tell people what their goals should be for cholesterol, diabetic or blood pressure numbers. I think getting a message that will have some kind of an impact, is always a good thing.”
Waugh said the prescription pads should begin to be distributed in a few weeks to interested physicians.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT