Background: The quantity and quality of physical activity counseling by the health care provider can have a profound impact on improving the physical activity of the older population. This study presents an estimate of the quality and quantity of physical activity counseling and tests the associations of different variables with physical activity.
Methods: A random telephone survey of 793 Israeli residents between the ages of 45 and 75 was conducted. Counseling by a health care provider was evaluated using a three-stage approach--assess, advise, and assist.
Results: Of those visiting a doctor in the last 3 months 22, 16, and 7% were assessed, advised, and assisted, respectively, regarding physical activity by a health care provider. At all three stages, receiving weight reduction counseling was a main variable correlated with receiving physical activity counseling (OR 3.38-2.43). Having a chronic disease was associated with being assessed; smoking and being a recent immigrant were associated with getting assistance on physical activity. Visiting a health care provider in the last 3 months, and being physically active were also associated with counseling. The dietitians and the physicians had the highest quality and rates of counseling in all three stages.
Conclusion: It seems that a sedentary lifestyle is not regarded as an independent risk factor during counseling, but more as an important part of weight reduction. An evaluation of physical activity counseling by the three stages can be used to assess the quality of the counseling.
Copyright 2000 American Health Foundation and Academic Press.