Replacing medication with a prescription to exercise

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Prescription medication is part of the daily regimen for millions of Americans. Researchers say Americans take more pills now than at any other time in recent history.

One estimate puts the number at 55 percent of Americans regularly taking prescription medicine most commonly for high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.

It's hard to imagine ditching prescription medications for exercise, but it’s happening and under doctor's orders.

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For Larry Scurlock exercise helped him get off eight of the ten medications he was prescribed by a doctor.

“I stopped eating red meat, no processed food. It’s a low sodium Mediterranean diet-- a lot of fish, fresh fruits,” Scurlock said.

The New Albany resident now exercises at three times a week and said the changes helped him lose more than thirty pounds.

Heit Center Associate director Jodi Kuri said the "Exercise is Medicine" program makes the difference for patients like Scurlock because patients and physicians collaborate to make physical activity a focus in their health care.

"Exercise is Medicine" participants are paired with OSU Wexner Medical Center therapists and experts. They employ the strategies of the American College of Sports Medicine which include an emphasis on the science of exercise, which includes 150 minutes of exercise per week — just about 30 minutes, five days a week.