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Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2011 Jul;36 Suppl 1:S266-98. doi: 10.1139/h11-062.

Evidence-based risk assessment and recommendations for physical activity clearance: Consensus Document 2011.

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Cardiovascular Physiology and Rehabilitation Laboratory, 6108 Thunderbird Blvd, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.


The Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q) and the Physical Activity Readiness Medical Evaluation (PARmed-X) are internationally known preparticipation screening tools developed on the basis of expert opinion. The primary purposes of this consensus document were to seek evidence-based support for the PAR-Q and PARmed-X forms, to identify whether further revisions of these instruments are warranted, to determine how people responding positively to questions on the PAR-Q can be safely cleared without medical referral, and to develop exercise clearance procedures appropriate for various clinical conditions across the human lifespan. Seven systematic reviews were conducted, examining physical-activity-related risks and effective risk-stratification procedures for various prevalent chronic conditions. An additional systematic review assessed the risks associated with exercise testing and training of the general population. Two gap areas were identified and evaluated systematically: the role of the qualified exercise professional and the requisite core competencies required by those working with various chronic conditions; and the risks associated with physical activity during pregnancy. The risks associated with being physically inactive are markedly higher than transient risks during and following an acute bout of exercise in both asymptomatic and symptomatic populations across the lifespan. Further refinements of the PAR-Q and the PARmed-X (including online versions of the forms) are required to address the unique limitations imposed by various chronic health conditions, and to allow the inclusion of individuals across their entire lifespan. A probing decision-tree process is proposed to assist in risk stratification and to reduce barriers to physical activity. Qualified exercise professionals will play an essential role in this revised physical activity clearance process.

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