Postgraduate medical journal
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Physical inactivity is a leading risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and early mortality. Family physicians have an important role in providing physical activity counselling to patients to help prevent and treat NCDs. Lack of training on physical activity counselling is a barrier in undergraduate medical education, yet little is known regarding physical activity teaching in postgraduate family medicine residency. We assessed the provision, content and future direction of physical activity teaching in Canadian postgraduate family medicine residency programs to address this data gap. Fewer than half of Canadian Family Medicine Residency Programme directors reported providing structured physical activity counselling education to residents. Most directors reported no imminent plans to change the content or amount of teaching. These results reflect significant gaps between the recommendations of WHO, which calls on doctors to prescribe physical activity, and the current curricular content and needs of family medicine residents. Almost all directors agreed that online educational resources developed to assist residents in physical activity prescription would be beneficial. By describing the provision, content and future direction of physical activity training in family medicine, physicians and medical educators can develop competencies and resources to meet this need. When we equip our future physicians with the necessary tools, we can improve patient outcomes and do our part to reduce the global epidemic of physical inactivity and chronic disease.