Objective: To evaluate how physician factors such as weight, exercise habits, and humanistic traits could influence patient willingness to comply with exercise recommendations.
Design: Survey questionnaire.
Setting: University-based Family Medicine Clinic.
Patients: 411 consecutive established patients of the Family Medicine Clinic.
Main outcome measures: Selected Physician characteristics that patients believed would increase their willingness to comply with exercise recommendations. Results were compared with patient demographics to determine possible effects of physician characteristics on patients acceptance of exercise recommendations.
Results: Patients with higher education levels could be positively influenced by a physician being of appropriate weight, a regular exerciser, and a nonsmoker, and enlisting use of other experts, negotiating an exercise program, providing exercise counseling, and being their primary provider. Patients with higher income levels could be positively related to a physician's being of appropriate weight, and a nonsmoker, negotiating an exercise program, and enlisting use of other experts. Female patients could be positively influenced by physicians being well groomed, well dressed, accessible, and good listeners. Patients who regularly exercise could be positively influenced by a physician's appropriate weight and exercise regimen.
Conclusions: Physicians may have a positive impact on patient willingness to comply by prescribing exercise and providing education and detailed guidance for all candidates. The study also showed that physicians' negotiating exercise programs and being good "exercise" role models is very important.