Health and Fitness Northwest Lifestyles

Exercise Seems as Effective as Drugs for Some Common Conditions

By Joe Elia

The effect of exercise on reducing mortality compares favorably with that of drug therapies for several common disorders, a BMJ study suggests.

Researchers examined some 300 trials to assess the mortality benefits of drugs versus exercise interventions in the secondary prevention of coronary disease, stroke rehabilitation, heart failure treatment, and diabetes prevention.

They found no statistically significant difference between drugs and exercise in lowering the odds ratios for mortality from coronary disease. Heart failure mortality showed a benefit of diuretics over exercise. Exercise bested drugs in stroke rehabilitation. And in prediabetes, neither drugs nor exercise was more effective at reducing mortality.

The authors say their findings highlight the lack of data on the question of exercise versus drugs. They note that the “lopsided nature of modern medical research may fail to detect the most effective treatment for a given condition if that treatment is not a prescription drug.”

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