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Physical activity promotion in primary care has a sustained influence on activity levels of sedentary adults
  1. Christopher M Williams1,2,
  2. Nicole Nathan2,3,
  3. Luke Wolfenden2,3
  1. 1The George Institute for Global Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2Hunter Medical Research Institute, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Christopher M Williams, The George Institute for Global Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia; cwilliams{at}

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This section features a recent systematic review that is indexed on PEDro, the Physiotherapy Evidence Database ( PEDro is a free, web-based database of evidence relevant to physiotherapy.

▸ Orrow G, Kinmonth A, Sanderson S, Sutton S. Effectiveness of physical activity promotion based in primary care: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ 2012;344:e1389


Despite the well-established benefits of physical activity (PA) a large proportion of people in developed countries still lead sedentary lifestyles.1 Community-based interventions can improve PA levels of sedentary individuals, but improvements are inconsistently sustained.2–4 Primary care may play an important role in facilitating sustained regular PA through direct intervention or via referral to other programmes as many people routinely access primary care.


This systematic review aimed to determine whether the promotion of PA in primary care had a sustained effect on PA or fitness levels in sedentary adults; and whether referral interventions were more effective than other interventions.

Searches and inclusion criteria

Studies were identified through searches of seven electronic databases, reference lists of relevant articles and previous systematic reviews, and contact with an independent expert. Eligible studies were randomised controlled trials recruiting adult patients (16 years and above) through primary care for any PA promotion intervention with …

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  • Contributors CMW, NN and LW interpreted the findings, drafted the article and reviewed the manuscript. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None.

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