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Incorporating physical activity advice into primary care - Physician-delivered advice within the Activity Counseling Trial AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PREVENTIVE MEDICINE Albright, C. L., Cohen, S., Gibbons, L., Miller, S., Marcus, B., Sallis, J., Imai, K., Jernick, J., Simons-Morton, D. G. 2000; 18 (3): 225-234


The Activity Counseling Trial (ACT) was designed to compare the effectiveness of physician advice alone with physician advice plus behavioral counseling, provided by ACT-trained health educators, to increase levels of physical activity in healthy, sedentary patients. The objective was to determine health care providers' adherence to the ACT protocol for delivering initial "physician" advice on physical activity and to determine providers' satisfaction with the protocol.Fifty-four physicians or physician assistants from 11 primary care practices located in California, Texas, and Tennessee volunteered to participate as ACT-trained physicians. Providers were trained to integrate 3 to 4 minutes of initial physical activity advice into the routine office visits of sedentary patients, aged 35 to 75 years, with no acute or serious chronic conditions. This advice included assessment of current physical activities, advising the patient about an appropriate physical activity goal, and referring the patient to the health educator. Providers initialed forms to document delivery of advice, and ACT health educators recorded their advice on a computerized tracking system. A provider survey measured length of time spent advising patients about physical activity and provider satisfaction with the program.Ninety-nine percent of patients received the initial physician advice about physical activity. Eighty-three percent of the providers spent less than 5 to 6 minutes, and 46% spent the recommended 3 to 4 minutes providing advice. Sixty-three percent said the advice resulted in little or no increase in the length of an office visit, and 83% said participation was an asset to their clinics.Providers incorporated brief physical activity advice into routine primary care visits with little disruption. Their response to the ACT advice protocol was positive and participation in the study was viewed as beneficial.

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View details for PubMedID 10722989