U.S. Blueprint for Health May Include Mangione’s Recommendation

By Purnell T. Cropper | July 13, 2010

Recommendations by Dr. Kathleen Mangione, Professor of Physical Therapy and a Geriatric Certified Specialist, may be incorporated into Healthy People 2020, a national “blueprint” for health promotion and disease prevention in the United States in the next decade, reports PT in Motion, a magazine produced by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

“Kathleen Mangione, PT, Ph.D., GCS, wants to see more adults with osteoarthritis getting the exercise they need for improved function and reduced pain,” reads the lead paragraph of the article on “A Healthy role for Physical Therapy.” The article cites two other physical therapists, Dr. Margaret O’Neil and Dr. Susan Scherer.

“When APTA last December submitted comments on the draft objectives that constitute the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Healthy People 2020 public health agenda, it recommended that several objectives crafted with APTA member input—including those advanced by Mangione, O’Neil and Scherer—be incorporated into the final document,” notes the article in the July issue.

“While the final goals and objectives for Healthy People 2020 won’t be released until later this year, what already is certain is that physical therapy’s voice again will be heard in an agenda that for decades has set America’s public health priorities and has shown success by several gauges in ‘moving the needle’ toward healthier living,” writes Eric Ries.

Mangione’s input would go into the topic section on Arthritis, Osteoporosis, and Chronic Back Conditions and would read, “Increase the proportion of adults with osteoarthritis who exercise.”

“That statement,” reports the magazine, “takes on the widespread but mistaken belief among Americans that such exercise is harmful, Mangione says. ‘The evidence simply doesn’t support that fear,’ she argues. ‘In fact, there’s strong evidence that aerobic exercise is helpful in improving function and reducing pain among adults with osteoarthritis.’

“Because I teach in the health-promotion content in our curriculum, I have my students look at national health patterns, and they’re shocked by the level of physical activity in this country. The Healthy People agenda is invaluable as an educational tool because it outlines inactivity trends in stark detail and suggests what we as healthcare practitioners and students as future practitioners can do to change these patterns. Most students entering my classroom are young and fit. They have no idea how little they mirror the rest of society. It’s enlightening for them to find out what’s really going on.”