Physical Therapy
 
 

Physical Therapists around the country are celebrating National Physical Therapy month in October.  National Physical Therapy Month celebrates the health and well being of any person's single most valuable possession: their body. When injury or disability occurs, it is often times the physical therapist that people turn to in order to overcome their pain and loss of mobility. A physical therapist is a licensed health care professional who evaluates a patient's physical status, establishes goals and a plan of care, and administers treatments to promote optimal health.

Physical therapists are healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the elderly, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. Physical therapists examine each individual and develop a plan of care using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. Physical therapists also work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.  Each year APTA identifies a theme with this year's being, "Physical therapy: it's all about movement."

 

One of our major concerns is in helping to prevent and manage overweight and obesity in both children and adults.  In the past 30 years, the prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased sharply for both adults and children. Since 1976–1980, the prevalence of obesity among U.S. adults has approximately doubled. In 2005–2006, more than 34% of adults aged 20 years or older were obese. The prevalence of overweight among children aged 2–5 years increased from 5.0% during 1976–1980 to 13.9% during 2003–2004. During the same period, the prevalence increased from 6.5% to 18.8% among young people aged 6–11 years, and 5.0% to 17.4% among those aged 12–19 years.

 

People who are obese are at increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis-related disabilities, and some cancers. The estimated total cost of obesity in the United States in 2000 was about $117 billion.

Regular physical activity and healthy eating are essential components of addressing the obesity problem.  Physical therapists support the US Surgeon General’s recommendation that children get 60 minutes of moderate physical activity and that adults get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. For people who are overweight or obese, starting with even small amounts of physical activity can help improve fitness and lower heath risks.  Movement, exercise is essential to our everyday lives.