The CDC reports 40% of American adults can be classified as obese. These individuals are at a significantly higher risk of chronic diseases including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Experts estimate medical costs for obesity and these chronic conditions tops 147 billion dollars each year. Researchers estimate this added weight contributes to up to 4 million deaths per year. In comparison, opiod overdoses killed approximately 42,000 Americans last year. All healthcare providers, including Physical Therapists, must work to to slow and try to eventually reverse our country's course toward further obesity.
In the Physical Therapy profession debates rage on social media and our professional conferences regarding the best intervention or exercise for a given condition or patient. The pendulum swings around pain neuroscience education, dry needling, exercise, and manipulation. Dogmatic groups often form around their proven technique, but given this energy crisis, one could argue a daily walking program may be the most important exercise prescription we can provide patients. The benefits of daily aerobic exercise are widespread and have been shown to reduce an individual's risk of dozens of diseases and conditions. Encouraging positive behaviors and removing activity barriers for every patient may help us reduce our country's true energy crisis.