Training physicians to conduct physical activity counseling

Prev Med. May-Jun 1997;26(3):382-8. doi: 10.1006/pmed.1997.0158.


Background: In accordance with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations, the current pilot study tests the feasibility and efficacy of a physician-delivered physical activity counseling intervention.

Methods: A sequential comparison group design was used to examine change in self-reported physical activity between experimental (counseling and self-help materials) and control (usual care) patients at base-line and 6 weeks after the initial office visit. Patients in both groups were contacted by telephone 2 weeks after their office visit and asked about the physical activity counseling at their most recent physician visit. Experimental patients also received a follow-up appointment to discuss physical activity with their physician 4 weeks after their initial visit.

Results: Counseling was feasible for physicians to do and produced short-term increases in physical activity levels. Both groups increased their physical activity, but the increase in physical activity was greater for patients who reported receiving a greater number of counseling messages.

Conclusions: Physician-delivered physical activity interventions may be an effective way to achieve wide-spread improvements in the physical activity of middle-aged and older adults.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training / standards*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Patient Education as Topic / standards*
  • Physician's Role*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Regression Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome