Physical activity levels and physical activity counseling practices of family physicians
Objective: The main objective of this study was to determine physical activity levels and the factors associated with physical activity among family physicians working in primary health care centers in a district of Istanbul. We also aimed to evaluate the physical activity counseling practices of physicians.
Methods: In this descriptive study, data were collected through a questionnaire applied to family physicians working in the research area between March and April 2019. The survey included 26 questions evaluating participants’ sociodemographic characteristics, physical activity levels, and physical activity counseling practices. Physical activity levels were assessed with the International Physical Activity Questionnaire – Short Form (IPAQ-SF).
Results: A total of 80 family physicians were included in the study. Most of the participants were male (53.8%) and the mean age was 42.0 ± 9.8 years. Among all, 45.0% of the participants had low and 35.0% had moderate physical activity levels. ‘Heavy workload’ was stated as the primary reason for being physically inactive (73.8%). In the multivariate analysis, the presence of chronic diseases, using only private cars for transportation to work, and not monitoring physical activity levels through a device was associated with physical inactivity (p<0.05 for all). Physicians stated that; cardiovascular diseases (71.2%), diabetes (67.5%), and obesity (60.0%) were the most common diseases they had provided physical activity counseling. Physicians indicated the most important barriers to physical activity counseling were ‘the lack of sufficient time (80.0%) and ‘the expectation of medication treatment by the patients’ (60.0%).
Conclusion: Heavy workload and time constraints reduced the physical activity levels of physicians and affected counseling practices adversely. There is a need for interventions that support the use of public transportation and walking during commuting to work, to encourage monitoring the activity level, and to increase the activity of those with chronic diseases.
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