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This novel study sought to observe the general public’s beliefs on the comparison between pharmaceuticals and exercise for the management of chronic disease, as is consistent with the ACSM Exercise is Medicine (EIM) initiative. The EIM initiative seeks to establish physical activity as a standard of care alongside more traditional interventions such as pharmacology. Despite the established benefit of exercise, little is known about the general public's awareness of the pharmacological benefits of structured, prescribed exercise in the treatment of chronic disease.


Exercise can be an effective intervention for chronic disease and in some cases, as effective as medication. The present study aimed to assess the beliefs of the public with regard to the efficacy of physical activity to augment chronic disease management.


  • Participants: 191
  • Age: 18 years or older
  • Location: Minnesota State Fair
  • Date: August 30th, 2021
  • Data collection: Conducted through an electronic survey


A descriptive-survey design research study was performed. The survey consisted of 14 items inquiring about the participants’ beliefs surrounding the relationship between exercise and various diseases from a pharmacological perspective. Demographics included gender, age, race, ethnicity, zip code and education level.


The general public views exercise as beneficial for their overall health; however, opinions on management of chronic disease differ across conditions.

Clinical Relevance

An increased awareness of the benefits of exercise in managing chronic disease may lead to fewer medicinal side effects, lower healthcare costs and higher quality of life.



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