Training physicians to conduct physical activity counseling

Bess H. Marcus, Michael G. Goldstein, Alan Jette, Laurey Simkin-Silverman, Bernardine M. Pinto, Felise Milan, Richard Washburn, Kevin Smith, William Rakowski, Catherine E. Dubé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Background. In accordance with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations, the current pilot study tests the feasibility and efficacy of a physician-delivered physical activity counseling intervention. Methods. A sequential comparison group design was used to examine change in self- reported physical activity between experimental (counseling and self-help materials) and control (usual care) patients at baseline and 6 weeks after the initial office visit. Patients in both groups were contacted by telephone 2 weeks after their office visit and asked about the physical activity counseling at their most recent physician visit. Experimental patients also received a follow-up appointment to discuss physical activity with their physician 4 weeks after their initial visit. Results. Counseling was feasible for physicians to do and produced short-term increases in physical activity levels. Both groups increased their physical activity, but the increase in physical activity was greater for patients who reported receiving a greater number of counseling messages. Conclusions. Physician-delivered physical activity interventions may be an effective way to achieve widespread improvements in the physical activity of middle-aged and older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-388
Number of pages7
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • exercise
  • patient education
  • primary care physicians
  • psychological theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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