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Prev Med Rep. 2015 Jun 10;2:467-72. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2015.06.001. eCollection 2015.

Physicians', nurses' and community health workers' knowledge about physical activity in Brazil: A cross-sectional study.

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Federal University of Pelotas, Postgraduate Program in Epidemiology, Pelotas, Brazil.
Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine, Program in Physical Therapy, St. Louis, MO, USA; Gerontology Department, Federal University of Sao Carlos, São Carlos, SP, Brazil.
School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
Hospital Municipal Dr. Moyses Deutsch, M'Boi Mirim, São Paulo, Brazil; Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.
University of Missouri, School of Medicine, Department of Health Management and Informatics, USA.
Global Health Promotion Office, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Department of Preventive Medicine, Federal University of Sao Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
Non-communicable Diseases Coordination and Field Epidemiology Training Program EPISUS, Health Surveillance Secretariat, Ministry of Health, Brasilia, Brazil.
Washington University in St. Louis, Brown School, Prevention Research Center in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA.
Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine, Division of Public Health Sciences, Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, St. Louis, MO, USA.



To measure knowledge of current recommendations of physical activity and consequences of physical inactivity among healthcare providers throughout Brazil.


A phone survey of 1600 randomly selected primary healthcare units in Brazil was conducted between January and July 2011. At each unit, a physician, nurse or community healthcare worker (n = 798) responded to a 40-minute survey, eliciting information about demographics, knowledge, and health behaviors pertaining to physical activity.


Among nurses and community healthcare workers, > 95% reported needing more information on physical activity guidelines. Among physicians this proportion was 80%. Nearly 40% of the professionals incorrectly believed 90-min of moderate-intensity physical activity per week is the recommended amount for health benefits; nearly 30% believed that 90-min of vigorous-intensity activity per week is needed for the same purpose. More than 75% of all groups reported that type II diabetes, hypertension, depression, and coronary heart disease might result from physical inactivity, but on average only 60% from each group are aware of osteoporosis as a possible consequence of physical inactivity.


Training health professionals in how to convey all relevant information about physical activity to their patients is critical for health promotion within the primary care system in Brazil.


Brazil; Counseling; Knowledge; Physical activity; Primary health care

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