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Is physical activity more effective than prescription medication?|
Date: 2013-12-12 17:05:56
A new study showed that exercise can be as effective as prescription medication at treating some of the leading causes of death in the United States. The results, published in the British Medical Journal, question whether our country's health care system is too focused on medication as treatment and not promoting physical activity enough.
The comparative study was conducted by Huseyin Naci, London School of Economics and Political Science graduate student, and John Ioannidis, M.D., director of the Stanford Prevention Research Center at the Stanford University School of Medicine. They wanted to research how well exercise and prescription drugs reduced deaths among people who had been previously diagnosed with one of four different medical conditions: diabetes, stroke, chronic heart failure or heart disease.
Very few researchers have compared the effectiveness of medication and exercise, yet comparative effectiveness studies are important parts of pharmaceutical research. Naci and Ioannidis compiled data from 305 medical experiments that revolved around one of the four conditions they were researching. What they discovered was that out of all the studies, only 57 examined exercise as a method of treatment.
Using these numbers, the two researchers cross-referenced results from cases where participants were either prescribed medication, put on strict exercise regimens, or both. Typically, a prescribed exercise routine would include aerobic activity and some form of weight-training. The results of their cross-referencing were revelatory: exercise consistently showed similar results to medication when it came to treating life-threatening conditions.
Exercise as beneficial as medicine...
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