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Doctors of BC wants physical activity history added into EMRs

May 2, 2018

BC’s doctors are committed to supporting patients to get and stay healthy by encouraging physical activity.

As part of this commitment, the Doctors of BC Board passed a resolution supporting the inclusion of physical activity history within the vital sign section of Electronic Medical Record systems.

By embedding two simple questions into EMR systems, physicians can counsel patients on the benefits of physical activity when appropriate during routine medical visits.


Why is this important?

Physicians can make a positive difference when they promote healthy behaviour change in patients. In the US, several large health care providers have adopted the Exercise as a Vital Sign program. Kaiser Permanente first piloted this program at four Kaiser clinics in northern California between April 2010 and October 2011. In a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the program was associated with weight loss in overweight patients and improved blood sugar control in diabetes patients – without resorting to increased diabetes medications.

Exercise is one of the most important changes people can make to better manage chronic disease. Regular physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, some types of cancers, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, bone and joint diseases, and depression. The risk for many of these conditions is reduced by 20 to 40% in adults with the highest levels of physical activity compared to those with the lowest levels of physical activity.

What else is Doctors of BC doing to encourage healthy lifestyles?

We have a number of things we are doing in this area:

  • Our annual Walk With Your Doc campaign brings doctors and patients together to support increased physical activity.
  • Be Active Every Day is a yearly campaign in which physicians go into BC’s schools to promote exercise and healthy lifestyles to elementary-school children.
  • We provide exercise is medicine prescription pads for physicians for use with their patients. If you would like some pads, email us at
  • The Athletics and Recreation Committee, a subcommittee of Doctors of BC’s Council on Health Promotion, takes a leading role in advising Doctors of BC on public health issues pertaining to physical activity, recreational athletics, and sports-related injury prevention.

Do you have ideas for Doctors of BC to do more in this area? Let us know by emailing