Podiatrists Examine Better-Health Walking Regimen

Posted by Admin on March 24, 2009

Among all of the painkillers and antibiotics a podiatrist might usually prescribe, foot doctors may soon be writing prescriptions for walking as a way to improve patients’ health, if a study currently under way proves the practice to be effective.     The study, which is a 48-week pilot walking program run by 16 member doctors of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) and funded by that group, randomly divides almost 250 patients from around the country into two groups. The first group will be provided with a walking prescription, a pedometer, a 12-week calendar to note the number of daily steps taken, and discussions with the doctor about the walking program’s benefits.

The second group will be given only a pedometer and verbal instructions to walk. Doctors will regularly monitor both groups’ medical statistics – such items as blood pressure, body mass index (BMI) and cholesterol.
   
To be part of the study, patients must be at least 18 years old, have a BMI of 27 or higher (at risk for obesity) and have had no major health events, such as a heart attack, stroke or loss of sensation in the feet. Everyone will be given a free pair of Asics walking shoes for the study.

“Our walking study helps cement two important concepts,” said Bryan Caldwell, the principal investigating podiatrist in the study and a professor at the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine. “We have known for years of the health benefits of walking, as well as the positive impact a podiatrist’s guidance can have on his or her patient’s health. We hope the combination of the two will result in a positive outcome for people who struggle with their weight on a daily basis and will ultimately save lives.”
   
Obesity follows smoking as the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States. The condition is generally caused by poor diet and lack of exercise. “Implementation of a viable walking program under the care of a podiatrist has great potential,” said APMA President David Schofield.


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