Exercise as the fifth vital sign

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Abantika Ghosh (excerpts from Indian Express): Scientists have called for categorizing exercise as the fifth vital sign of the condition of a body, after temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respiratory rate.
In a two-part series on exercise and sports medicine in The Lancet, to coincide with the coming Olympics, researchers point out that participation in a sport is associated with a 20-40 per cent reduction in all causes of mortality. As such, they recommend, exercise be considered one of the vital signs — or one of the physiological indicators of the condition of a human body, considered the most important of all diagnostic tools and one of the first things physicians check when assessing a patient.

The Lancet series also recommends that exercise be noted in patients’ electronic medical records and routine history. Physically inactive patients, they add, should be advised to start exercising as evidence-based therapy. The researchers behind the study belong to the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, University of California, University of Sydney and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.