Encouraging physical activity--five steps for GPs

Ben J Smith, Hidde P van der Ploeg, Laurien M Buffart, Adrian E Bauman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Over half of Australians do not meet physical activity recommendations. General practitioners can play an important role in encouraging physical activity, which would significantly reduce the burden of chronic disease.

OBJECTIVE: This article outlines steps to guide GPs in their efforts to promote greater physical activity participation among their patients, and identifies resources that will assist GPs to incorporate this into routine practice.

DISCUSSION: The 'five As' model for preventive counselling is applied to the problem of physical inactivity. General practitioners first need to Ask about physical activity at an opportune time during consultations, Assess the patient's physical activity level, and then Advise about the recommended type, intensity and amount of physical activity that is relevant to their needs and life circumstances. An achievable plan for increasing physical activity can be prepared and GPs can Assist by discussing strategies to maintain this and tackle the barriers to activity that may arise. It is also useful to Arrange follow up contact and ongoing support through the practice or external programs and exercise professionals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-8
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Family Physician
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2008

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