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Fam Pract. 2004 Aug;21(4):429-36.

Feasibility and acceptability of a physical activity promotion programme in general practice.

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  • 1Department of General Practice and Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Physical activity promotion in general practice is advocated though not incorporated into daily practice. Several barriers must be overcome to develop a feasible and acceptable programme.


The aim of this study was to conduct a process evaluation of a physical activity promotion programme in general practice (PACE), in which patients visited their provider (GP or practice nurse) twice.


Process evaluation was conducted by means of telephone-administered, semi-structured interviews with providers and practice assistants. The main topics of the interviews were overall impression of PACE, PACE training, content and usability of the intervention materials, counselling, implementation of the intervention, and opportunities for future use.


In the 15 participating general practices, a total of 17 providers and 12 practice assistants were interviewed. The overall impression of the PACE programme was positive. Most providers experienced the provided material and training as helpful. Some problems concerning the number of forms used and patients having difficulties completing the forms were mentioned. Most providers (70.6%) spend 10 min or more discussing PACE during the first consultation. The second consultation mostly was completed within 10 min. Patients overestimating their level of physical activity was mentioned as the main barrier in providing the counselling. PACE was evaluated as suitable for implementation in Dutch general practice, and 60% of the providers actually intended using PACE in the future.


The PACE programme was evaluated as being both acceptable and feasible in a selection of Dutch general practices. Positive adaptations will be made in order to implement PACE successfully in general practice at a wider scale.

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