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Prev Med. 1997 May-Jun;26(3):382-8.

Training physicians to conduct physical activity counseling.

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Division of Behavioral and Preventive Medicine, Miriam Hospital, Providence, RI 02906, USA.



In accordance with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations, the current pilot study tests the feasibility and efficacy of a physician-delivered physical activity counseling intervention.


A sequential comparison group design was used to examine change in self-reported physical activity between experimental (counseling and self-help materials) and control (usual care) patients at base-line and 6 weeks after the initial office visit. Patients in both groups were contacted by telephone 2 weeks after their office visit and asked about the physical activity counseling at their most recent physician visit. Experimental patients also received a follow-up appointment to discuss physical activity with their physician 4 weeks after their initial visit.


Counseling was feasible for physicians to do and produced short-term increases in physical activity levels. Both groups increased their physical activity, but the increase in physical activity was greater for patients who reported receiving a greater number of counseling messages.


Physician-delivered physical activity interventions may be an effective way to achieve wide-spread improvements in the physical activity of middle-aged and older adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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