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Longitudinal qualitative study describing family physicians' experiences with attempting to integrate physical activity prescriptions in their practice: 'It's not easy to change habits'.

Published on Jul 1, 2017in BMJ Open2.376
· DOI :10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017265
Mathieu Bélanger14
Estimated H-index: 14
,
Emily Wolfe Phillips1
Estimated H-index: 1
(U of O: University of Ottawa)
+ 9 AuthorsJennifer Brunet16
Estimated H-index: 16
(U of O: University of Ottawa)
Abstract
Objective Physical activity (PA) prescriptions provided by family physicians can promote PA participation among patients, but few physicians regularly write PA prescriptions. The objective of this study was to describe family physicians’ experiences of trying to implement written PA prescriptions into their practice. Design Longitudinal qualitative study where participants were interviewed four times during a 12-month period. After the first interview, they were provided with PA prescription pads. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Setting Family medicine clinics in New Brunswick, Canada. Participants Family physicians (n=11) with no prior experience writing PA prescriptions, but who expressed interest in changing their practice to implement written PA prescriptions. Results Initially, participants exhibited confidence in their ability to write PA prescriptions in the future and intended to write prescriptions. However, data from the follow-up interviews indicated that the rate of implementation was lower than anticipated by participants and prescriptions were not part of their regular practice. Two themes emerged as factors explaining the gap between their intentions and behaviours: (1) uncertainty about the effectiveness of written PA prescription, and (2) practical concerns (eg, changing well-established habits, time constraints, systemic institutional barriers). Conclusion It may be effective to increase awareness among family physicians about the effectiveness of writing PA prescriptions and address barriers related to how their practice is organised in order to promote written PA prescription rates.
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  • Citations (4)
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References43
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Summary Background The pandemic of physical inactivity is associated with a range of chronic diseases and early deaths. Despite the well documented disease burden, the economic burden of physical inactivity remains unquantified at the global level. A better understanding of the economic burden could help to inform resource prioritisation and motivate efforts to increase levels of physical activity worldwide. Methods Direct health-care costs, productivity losses, and disability-adjusted life-year...
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Non-communicable disease is a leading threat to global health. Physical inactivity is a large contributor to this problem; in fact, the WHO ranks it as the fourth leading risk factor for overall morbidity and mortality worldwide. In Canada, at least 4 of 5 adults do not meet the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines of 150 min of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week. Physicians play an important role in the dissemination of physical activity (PA) recommendations to a broad segment of ...
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Exercise has been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of many chronic conditions. Mortality benefits from exercise are similar to pharmacologic interventions for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, stroke rehabilitation, treatment for heart failure and prevention of diabetes.[1][1]
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In 2014, we reported a game-changing initiative to provide all UK, undergraduate medical schools, with a curricula and free resources on exercise medicine in the prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases.1 The second phase of this philanthropic project, sees the September 2015 launch of: an interdisciplinary, undergraduate, curricula and resources. This now raises the game for all healthcare professionals. These latest, completely revised resources, now include: pregnancy, osteoarthr...
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