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Despite the clear health benefits that can be attained through adopting a more active lifestyle, most adults in the United Kingdom as well as other industrial nations remain underactive. Faced with this epidemic, there is a growing need for physical activity interventions that can be widely disseminated to all segments of the population across the lifespan.
One promising avenue for physical activity counselling and support lies with the primary care doctor and other health care professionals. The strengths of incorporating physical activity advice and support as part of routine health care include the ability to reach a substantial portion of the population repeatedly over time, the consistency and continuity of message content and delivery, and the willingness among patients to act on their doctor's advice.1,2 Despite these strengths, however, a number of barriers to physical activity counselling in primary care have been documented, including lack of time, reimbursement, and training in physical activity or behaviour change counselling.3 Although such barriers present continuing challenges to the health promotion and health care fields, the potential public health impact that primary care settings can have on health behaviour change, including physical …
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