Physical activity recommendations from general practitioners in Australia. Results from a national survey

Camille Short, M Hayman, A Rebar, Kate Fennell, K De cocker, M Duncan, Deborah Turnbull, Jim Dollman, J Van Uffelen, Corneel Vandelanotte

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    35 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: To identify subgroups of Australian adults likely to receive physical activity advice from their general practitioner and to evaluate the content of the advice provided. Methods: Participants (n=1,799), recruited from the Australian Health and Social Science panel, completed an online survey. Signal Detection Analysis was used to identify subgroups that were more/less likely to have received physical activity recommendations. Results: Overall, 18% of participants received a physical activity recommendation from their general practitioner in the past 12 months and eight unique subgroups were identified. The subgroup with the highest proportion (54%) of participants reporting that they received a physical activity recommendation was those with poor physical and mental health-related quality of life and an average daily sitting time of <11 hours. Other subgroups with high proportions of individuals receiving recommendations were characterised by higher weight and/or the presence of co-morbidities. The most commonly prescribed physical activity type was aerobic activity. Few participants received specific physical activity advice. Conclusions: General practitioners are incorporating physical activity promotion into their practice, but primarily as a disease management tool and with limited specificity. Implications: Strategies to assist Australian general practitioners to effectively promote physical activity are needed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)83-90
    Number of pages8
    JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


    • general practitioners
    • intervention
    • physical activity


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