Randomized trial of three strategies to promote physical activity in general practice
To evaluate three strategies for promoting physical activity (PA) in a primary care setting. Data were collected between 2002 and 2004 from 136 patients attending two general practices in Brisbane, Australia. Inactive patients (50–70 years) were randomly allocated to one of three hierarchical intervention groups: the general practitioner (GP) group received ‘brief’ advice; the GP+ES group also received behavior change advice from an exercise scientist (ES); and the GP+ES+P group also received a pedometer. Self-reported PA and its determinants were measured at baseline and weeks 12 and 24. Cardio-respiratory variables were measured at baseline and week 12. Overall, mean PA time increased by 84 and 128 min/week at weeks 12 and 24 (p < .01) with no significant group differences. Small improvements in blood pressure and post-exercise heart rate were observed. At week 24, the GP+ES+P group were more likely to report meeting PA guidelines than the GP group (OR = 2.39 95% CI: 1.01, 5.64). PA levels can be increased in mid- to older-age adults, either by brief advice from motivated GPs alone, or from collaboration between GPs and ESs. The most intense intervention (GP+ES+P) showed the most promising results.