How do general practitioners in Denmark promote physical activity?

Scand J Prim Health Care. 2012 Sep;30(3):141-6. doi: 10.3109/02813432.2012.688710. Epub 2012 Jul 15.


Objective: The primary objective of this study was to quantify the frequency of advice given on type, frequency, duration, and intensity of exercise during physical activity (PA) promoting sessions by general practitioners. Second, to find GP characteristics associated with high quality of PA counselling.

Design: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey.

Setting and subjects: General practitioners in two Danish municipalities in central Copenhagen, Denmark.

Results: 56.3% (223/396) of GPs returned the questionnaire. 95.5% (127/223) of the respondents reported giving advice on PA at least weekly. PA promotion included advice on type of exercise, duration, frequency, and intensity in 80% (interquartile range 60 to 90), 70% (50-80), 70% (50-90), and 60% (40-80) of the consultations, respectively. Length of consultation (minutes) was positively associated with increased chance of advice on type of exercise (OR 1.08; 95% CI 1.02-1.13), frequency (OR 1.09; 95% CI 1.03-1.16), and intensity (OR 1.06; 95% CI 1.01-1.11). Having attended a course on exercise promotion was associated with increased information on frequency (OR 1.94; 95% CI 1.05-3.60) and duration (OR 1.81; 95% CI 1.02-3.21).

Conclusion: While GPs report frequently providing PA counselling, this often lacks specific advice on how to perform the exercise. GPs who have received training on PA promotion more often report providing advice on duration and frequency of exercise compared with GPs who have not received training on PA promotion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Denmark
  • Exercise*
  • Family Practice / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires