Effects of a structured physical-activity counseling and referral scheme in long-term unemployed individuals: a pilot accelerometer study

Behav Med. 2013;39(2):44-50. doi: 10.1080/08964289.2013.782852.


Unemployment is associated with health risks. Physical activity produces health benefits. This study examined the effects of a physical activity counseling and exercise referral scheme on physical-activity behavior in long-term unemployed individuals. In this study, 51 long-term unemployed persons received physical-activity counseling and exercise referral. Further, 21 unemployed and 17 employed persons with no intervention were included. Physical activity was measured over 7 consecutive days prior to and 12 weeks after counseling by accelerometer. Participants who started exercising increased their amount of moderate physical activity from 26 ± 14 to 35 ± 25 minutes/day and total physical activity from 207 ± 86 to 288 ± 126 counts/minute. Generally, unemployed persons were less active and less healthy compared to employed persons. Persons who are willing and motivated benefit from structured physical activity counseling and exercise referral and increase physical activity to a health promoting level. Physical activity inequalities could be reduced.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Adult
  • Counseling*
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Motor Activity*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Unemployment / psychology*