Objectives The global lack of sports and exercise medicine (SEM) teaching at medical schools contrasts with evidence that physical activity (PA) plays a major role in preventing and treating non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The aims of this study were to (a) examine whether Swiss medical students are expected to acquire SEM-related skills and knowledge, (b) systematically reviewed SEM teaching in the Swiss undergraduate medical curricula, (c) assess if Swiss medical students are aware of SEM and (d) whether they would like SEM to be included in their curricula.
Methods Two authors independently screened the 'Principal Relevant Objectives and Framework for Integrative Learning and Education in Switzerland' (PROFILES) for SEM-related learning objectives and reviewed the curricula. 7708 Swiss medical students were invited to participate in an online survey.
Results 32 SEM-related learning objectives were identified in PROFILES with 20 of them linked to PA. Four of eight Swiss medical schools display limited mandatory SEM teachings. 1764 students participated in the survey (482.0% of the necessary sample size, 22.9% of all Swiss medical students). One in two students knew that SEM includes preventing and treating NCDs. Almost 95% of the participants would like SEM to be included in the curricula.
Conclusion Despite its inclusion in PROFILES and comprehensive evidence that SEM should be taught at medical schools, this is scarcely the case in Switzerland. Swiss medical students have limited understanding of SEM, but are keen to have it included in the curricula. This study highlights the need for more comprehensive SEM teaching at Swiss medical schools.