Lack of time, knowledge and training in health promotion and lack of success with changing patient behavior were among the top barriers to including effective physical activity counseling in the primary care setting, according to research by The University of Texas School of Public Health, part of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).
"Individual and organization barriers must be addressed in order to incorporate counseling effectively," said Emily Hebert, M.P.H., the study's lead author and doctoral candidate at The University of Texas School of Public Health Austin Regional Campus, part of UTHealth. "Although these barriers may hinder a primary care provider to provide counseling, there are licensed counselors and health professionals who could work with the physicians to help patients achieve their goals."
The article is published in the July issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Physical activity counseling is considered advice and discussion to encourage patients to increase and maintain physical activity.. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Healthy People 2020 initiative recommends physicians provide intensive physical activity counseling and behavioral interventions to patients with chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
It is estimated that only 30 to 50 percent of U.S. physicians regularly provide counseling on physical activity to their patients, according to the article. Research has shown that physical activity reduces the risk of all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and other chronic conditions.
"Evidence suggests that the most effective counseling includes more than just telling the patient they need to exercise or that exercise is important," said Hebert. "Use of evidence-based counseling methods and strategies as well as following up with patients coul
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University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston