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Patient Educ Couns. 2010 Jan;78(1):97-103. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2009.04.004. Epub 2009 May 13.

The influence of primary health care professionals in encouraging exercise and physical activity uptake among White and South Asian older adults: experiences of young older adults.

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The University of Manchester, Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, Manchester, M13 9PL, England, UK.



To explore the influence of primary health care professionals in increasing exercise and physical activity among 60-70-year-old White and South Asian community dwellers.


Fifteen focus groups and 40 in-depth interviews with community dwelling White and South Asian 60-70-year olds. The sample was selected to include people with very different experiences of participation and non-participation in exercise and physical activity. Data were analysed using framework analysis.


Primary health care professionals' advice and support was found to be a motivator to the initiation of exercise and physical activity. However, this was usually in relation to advice on weight reduction, cardiac conditions and mobility issues, but not generally to improve or increase activity levels. An underlying attitude of genuine interest and empathy was valued and shaped decisions about initiating and/or increasing activity levels.


Primary health care professionals should be encouraged to show interest and empathy with older people about the positive benefits of exercise and physical activity to them individually. This advice needs to be tailored to the older adult's symptoms.


Primary health care professionals need to be able to provide specific advice as to the quantity (frequency, duration, intensity and type) of exercise or physical activity to undertake. Practitioners need to listen to their patients' needs, show empathy and avoid ageism during consultations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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