Physicians', nurses' and community health workers' knowledge about physical activity in Brazil: A cross-sectional study

Laura Burdick, Gregore I. Mielke, Diana C. Parra, Grace Gomes, Alex Florindo, Mario Bracco, Felipe Lobelo, Eduardo J. Simoes, Michael Pratt, Luiz R. Ramos, Lenildo Moura, Ross C. Brownson, Pedro C. Hallal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To measure knowledge of current recommendations of physical activity and consequences of physical inactivity among healthcare providers throughout Brazil. Methods: A phone survey of 1600 randomly selected primary healthcare units in Brazil was conducted between January and July 2011. At each unit, a physician, nurse or community healthcare worker (n = 798) responded to a 40-minute survey, eliciting information about demographics, knowledge, and health behaviors pertaining to physical activity. Results: Among nurses and community healthcare workers, > 95% reported needing more information on physical activity guidelines. Among physicians this proportion was 80%. Nearly 40% of the professionals incorrectly believed 90-min of moderate-intensity physical activity per week is the recommended amount for health benefits; nearly 30% believed that 90-min of vigorous-intensity activity per week is needed for the same purpose. More than 75% of all groups reported that type II diabetes, hypertension, depression, and coronary heart disease might result from physical inactivity, but on average only 60% from each group are aware of osteoporosis as a possible consequence of physical inactivity. Conclusions: Training health professionals in how to convey all relevant information about physical activity to their patients is critical for health promotion within the primary care system in Brazil.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-472
Number of pages6
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Brazil
  • Counseling
  • Knowledge
  • Physical activity
  • Primary health care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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