Background: Physical activity on prescription, as a method for increasing physical activity, has attracted attention in recent years. However, few studies have examined adherence as a primary outcome variable. The aim of this article was to examine self-reported adherence to individualized prescribed physical activity in a routine primary health care setting.
Methods: Patients receiving an individualized physical activity on prescription (FaR) for prevention or treatment of disease were recruited from 13 Swedish primary health care units. Self-reported adherence, physical activity level, readiness to change to a more physically active lifestyle, and well-being were measured with questions at baseline and after 6 months in 240 patients (mean age 51, range 12 to 80, 75% women).
Results: At the 6-month follow-up a majority (65%) of the patients reported adherence to the prescription. Partial adherence was reported by 19% and nonadherence by 16%. There was a relationship between adherence and well-being and stages of action or maintenance.
Conclusions: The results demonstrate that adherence to physical activity on prescription is as good as adherence to other treatments for chronic diseases. This is significant because even a small increase in physical activity is important both on an individual level and for public health.