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Patient Educ Couns. 2005 Mar;56(3):323-31.

Implementation and effectiveness of a primary care based physical activity counselling scheme.

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  • 1Institute of Sports Science, Federal Office of Sport, CH-2532 Magglingen, Switzerland.


The aim of the project was to reach inactive people through primary care offices and motivate them to become more active for health purposes. Physical activity questionnaires based on the transtheoretical model (TM) of behaviour change were handed out to every person entering one of five primary care offices. All inactive people were entered into a randomised controlled trial (RCT). Individuals assigned to the feedback group were given feedback from their physician concerning their physical activity level. In addition, the advice plus group received further advice and stage matched leaflets and was offered a 45-min counselling session. Changes in physical activity behaviour were measured 7 weeks as well as 14 months after the intervention. Physicians and patients alike reacted positively to the project. Ninety percent of patients entering the primary care offices were willing to participate. Ninety percent of inactive people agreed to be entered into the RCT. The follow-up rate in this trial was 82% at 14 months. At 7 weeks, 35% of patients in the feedback group were now classified as active and 38% of patients in the advice plus group. At 14 months, 47% of the subjects in both groups were active. Inactive people can be reached effectively through primary care offices. Patients receiving feedback from their physician concerning their physical activity level improved their behaviour to the same extent as patients who were given further advice and written materials, and were offered a counselling session.

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