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Physicians promoting physical activity using pedometers and community partnerships: a real world trial
  1. Linda Trinh1,
  2. Ron Wilson2,
  3. Heather MacLeod Williams3,
  4. Alison J Sum4,
  5. Patti-Jean Naylor5
  1. 1Behavioral Medicine Laboratory, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  2. 2Department of Family Practice, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  3. 3MTM Research and Associates, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  4. 4School of Exercise Science, Physical & Health Education, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  5. 5Institute of Applied Physical Activity and Health Research, School of Exercise Science, Physical & Health Education, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  1. Correspondence toDr Patti-Jean Naylor, School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education, University of Victoria, McKinnon Building, 3800 Finnerty Road, Victoria, BC, V8W 2Y2, Canada; pjnaylor{at}


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.

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  • Funding This work was supported by the British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association. LT is supported by Full-Time Health Research Studentships from the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the University of Victoria.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.