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J Sports Sci Med. 2011 Sep 1;10(3):426-31. eCollection 2011.

Attitudes of medical students, clinicians and sports scientists towards exercise counselling.

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1
Medical School, The Australian National University , Canberra.

Abstract

We compared the amount of exercise undertaken by medical students, clinicians, and sport scientists with the National Australian Physical Activity (NAPA) Guidelines. A second aim was to compare attitudes to exercise counselling as preventive medicine between university- and clinic-based professionals. The research setting was a university medical school and a sports science sports medicine centre. A 20-item questionnaire was completed by 216 individuals (131 medical students, 43 clinicians and 37 sports scientists). Self-reported physical activity habits, exercise counselling practices and attitudes towards preventive medicine were assessed. The physical activity undertaken by most respondents (70%) met NAPA Guidelines. General practitioners had significantly lower compliance rates with NAPA Guidelines than other professionals. More than half of clinicians and medical students (54%) were less active now compared with levels of activity undertaken prior to graduate training. Most physicians (68%) reported they sometimes discuss physical activity with patients. In contrast, the majority of non-medically qualified respondents (60%) said they never discuss physical activity with their doctor. Most respondents (70%) had positive attitudes to exercise counselling. Sports scientists and respondents who were highly active in childhood had more positive attitudes to exercise counselling than others. Health professionals in this study were more active than the general population, however healthy exercise habits tend to deteriorate after the commencement of medical training. Despite the important role of doctors in health promotion, the degree of exercise counselling to patients is low. Key pointsThe rate of exercise counselling by doctors to patients is lowSports physicians and scientists have substantially more positive attitudes to exercise counselling than clinicians and medical studentsMedical schools have a responsibility to promote physical activity of students and improve training in exercise counselling.

KEYWORDS:

Physical activity; attitudes.; counselling; exercise; medical school; university

PMID:
24150613
PMCID:
PMC3737811
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