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Am J Prev Med. 1998 Aug;15(2):85-94.

Advice on exercise from a family physician can help sedentary patients to become active.

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  • 1Department of Public Health and Human Movement, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Perth, Western Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To test the effectiveness, in the setting of primary health care, of verbal advice on exercise from a family physician (FP) combined with supporting written information.

DESIGN:

A controlled trial with subjects allocated to a control group or one of two intervention groups using a balanced design based on day of the week.

SETTING:

Ten general practices in Perth, Western Australia.

SUBJECTS:

All sedentary patients consulting an FP.

INTERVENTION:

Verbal advice on exercise from the FP and a pamphlet on exercise mailed to the patient's home address within 2 days of his/her visit to the doctor.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

Level of physical activity at follow-up.

RESULTS:

6,351 adult patients attending an FP practice completed a screening questionnaire, and 763 sedentary adults were recruited to the project. The response to follow-up, via a postal survey at 1, 6, and 12 months after the index consultation was 70%, 60%, and 57%, respectively. At 1 month a subsample of the control and intervention subjects were contacted for a telephone interview to verify self-reported levels of activity (n = 136). Treating all nonresponders as sedentary, at 1 month significantly more subjects in the combined intervention groups reported doing some physical activity (40%) compared with the control group (31%). Similarly, at 6 months, 30% of the control group and 38% of the combined intervention groups were "now active." There was very little change at follow-up at 12 months (31% control and 36% intervention groups, respectively).

CONCLUSION:

A simple intervention aimed at the promotion of physical activity to sedentary patients in general practice can help reduce inactivity.

PMID:
9713663
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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