Randomized trial of three strategies to promote physical activity in general practice

Prev Med. 2009 Feb;48(2):156-63. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.11.009. Epub 2008 Nov 28.


Objective: To evaluate three strategies for promoting physical activity (PA) in a primary care setting.

Method: Data were collected between 2002 and 2004 from 136 patients attending two general practices in Brisbane, Australia. Inactive patients (50-70 years) were randomly allocated to one of three hierarchical intervention groups: the general practitioner (GP) group received 'brief' advice; the GP+ES group also received behavior change advice from an exercise scientist (ES); and the GP+ES+P group also received a pedometer. Self-reported PA and its determinants were measured at baseline and weeks 12 and 24. Cardio-respiratory variables were measured at baseline and week 12.

Results: Overall, mean PA time increased by 84 and 128 min/week at weeks 12 and 24 (p<.01) with no significant group differences. Small improvements in blood pressure and post-exercise heart rate were observed. At week 24, the GP+ES+P group were more likely to report meeting PA guidelines than the GP group (OR=2.39 95% CI: 1.01, 5.64).

Conclusion: PA levels can be increased in mid- to older-age adults, either by brief advice from motivated GPs alone, or from collaboration between GPs and ESs. The most intense intervention (GP+ES+P) showed the most promising results.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / methods*
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Queensland
  • Surveys and Questionnaires