In a Comment published alongside The Lancet Series on sport and exercise medicine, Rod Jaques of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK, and Mike Loosemore of University College London, UK, highlight the lack of specialised training in sports medicine in undergraduate medical training.
Despite the fact that up to 20% of consultations in UK general practice involve musculoskeletal complaints – often caused by sports or exercise injuries – there is little or no specific teaching on sports and exercise medicine in the undergraduate curriculum. Furthermore, despite the well-established positive effects of exercise on so-called “lifestyle” diseases such as cardiac disease and diabetes, fewer than half of the UK’s medical schools teach the Chief Medical Officer’s guidance on physical activity.
According to the authors, “Large cohort studies from the USA have shown that low cardiorespiratory fitness is the single biggest risk factor for all-cause mortality. The importance of sports and exercise medicine, in particular the benefits of physical activity in non-communicable disease prevention and chronic disease management, should be incorporated in the core undergraduate medical programme.”