Local doctors prescribe using local resources for exercise

mhankerson@newsobserver.comJanuary 2, 2014 

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    Doctors participating in Rx for Exercise:

    Dr. Eric Clayton at Acts Medical Clinic in Wendell

    Vardy Human Performance Center in Knightdale and Wendell

    Dr. Shelly West at Duke Primary Care Wakelon in Zebulon

    Shepherd’s Care Medical Clinic in Zebulon

    Wake County Human Services Eastern Regional Center in Zebulon.

    Knightdale Family Medicine

    Rex Family Practice of Knightdale

— Some prescriptions cost a pretty penny, but seven eastern Wake County doctors will soon dispense a prescription that will cost patients nothing more than their time.

Doctors in Knightdale, Zebulon and Wendell and Advocates for Health in Action, or AHA, have partnered to launch “Rx for Exercise,” a pilot program that will prescribe patients doses of exercise if they are not getting enough.

“We’re engaging physicians to be partners in this project because it means so much more to people when their doctor tells them they’re not getting enough exercise,” said Michele McKinley, project coordinator for AHA.

Prescription pads will tell adults to get 30 minutes of exercise a day and children to get 60. Doctors will also pass out brochures on free or low-cost activities in eastern Wake County that will get the population moving.

“We are hoping to see more people in eastern Wake County being more active,” Mckinley said.

McKinley said Wake County is not unique in how many residents are overweight or obese.

“It’s happening all over the county and state and country,” she said. “There are more economic challenges in the eastern part of the county than other pockets, and there’s definitely a correlation there between socioeconomic status and health.”

AHA coordinates several projects in healthy eating and exercise by partnering with community groups. For this project, it has enlisted the help of town parks and recreational departments and local doctors to show residents where they can go to get free or low-cost exercise.

AHA has created brochures with the cooperation of each town’s parks and recreation department. They list various locations residents can go to be active and include parks, athletic fields, greenways and schedules of fitness classes.

Last summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported obesity rates had slightly decreased in 19 states. North Carolina was not one of those states.

Obesity rates in Wake County are some of the highest in the state. Fifty-nine percent of adults in the county are overweight or obese. A third of 2- to 4-year olds, 43 percent of 5- to 11-year-olds and 49 percent of 12- to 18-year-olds are also overweight or obese.

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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