Physicians promoting physical activity using pedometers and community partnerships: A real world trial

Linda Trinh, Ron Wilson, Heather Mac Leod Williams, Alison J. Sum, Patti Jean Naylor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background Healthcare providers are a primary source of information on preventive health issues for patients. Further research related to physical activity (PA) promotion in the primary care setting is needed. Objective To explore the feasibility of a physician and community PA intervention using a pedometer for: increasing PA levels among inactive patients; enhancing relationships between physicians and community PA partners; and influencing the PA promotion habits of physicians. Methods A 6-week PA intervention was delivered to 152 inactive patients who were recruited in physician waiting rooms, counselled by their physicians, provided with a pedometer and referred to a community action site (CAS) at their local recreation centre for further support. PA was measured at baseline and follow-up using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Follow-up interviews were conducted with physicians and recreation representatives on the challenges and benefits associated with the intervention. Results Study patients significantly increased their PA (103% change in MET min/week). Physicians and recreation professionals were highly satisfied with the intervention and partnership. There were challenges to ongoing communication. Physicians reported increased awareness of the pedometer and community resources as supports for PA. Conclusion A pedometer-based PA intervention delivered by physicians in partnership with a community PA stakeholder is feasible and warrants further research. Long-term maintenance of this intervention would require resources for pedometers, and ongoing contact and communication between the physicians and CAS to ensure availability of community supports.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-290
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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