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.