+1 Recommend
0 collections
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found
      Is Open Access

      Effectiveness of physical activity promotion based in primary care: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

      Read this article at

          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.


          Objectives To determine whether trials of physical activity promotion based in primary care show sustained effects on physical activity or fitness in sedentary adults, and whether exercise referral interventions are more effective than other interventions.

          Design Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.

          Data sources Medline, CINAHL, PsycINFO, EMBASE, SPORTDiscus, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, the Cochrane Library, and article reference lists.

          Review methods Review of randomised controlled trials of physical activity promotion in sedentary adults recruited in primary care, with minimum follow-up of 12 months, reporting physical activity or fitness (or both) as outcomes, and using intention to treat analyses. Two reviewers independently assessed studies for inclusion, appraised risk of bias, and extracted data. Pooled effect sizes were calculated using a random effects model.

          Results We included 15 trials (n=8745). Most interventions took place in primary care, included health professionals in delivery, and involved advice or counselling given face to face or by phone (or both) on multiple occasions. Only three trials investigated exercise referral. In 13 trials presenting self reported physical activity, we saw small to medium positive intervention effects at 12 months (odds ratio 1.42, 95% confidence interval 1.17 to 1.73; standardised mean difference 0.25, 0.11 to 0.38). The number needed to treat with an intervention for one additional sedentary adult to meet internationally recommended levels of activity at 12 months was 12 (7 to 33). In four trials reporting cardiorespiratory fitness, a medium positive effect at 12 months was non-significant (standardised mean difference 0.51, −0.18 to 1.20). Three trials of exercise referral found small non-significant effects on self reported physical activity at 12 months (odds ratio 1.38; 0.98 to 1.95; standardised mean difference 0.20, −0.21 to 0.61).

          Conclusions Promotion of physical activity to sedentary adults recruited in primary care significantly increases physical activity levels at 12 months, as measured by self report. We found insufficient evidence to recommend exercise referral schemes over advice or counselling interventions. Primary care commissioners should consider these findings while awaiting further trial evaluation of exercise referral schemes and other primary care interventions, with longer follow-up and use of objective measures of outcome.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 18

          • Record: found
          • Abstract: found
          • Article: not found

          Inequalities in access to medical care by income in developed countries.

          Most of the member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) aim to ensure equitable access to health care. This is often interpreted as requiring that care be available on the basis of need and not willingness or ability to pay. We sought to examine equity in physician utilization in 21 OECD countries for the year 2000. Using data from national surveys or from the European Community Household Panel, we extracted the number of visits to a general practitioner or medical specialist over the previous 12 months. Visits were standardized for need differences using age, sex and reported health levels as proxies. We measured inequity in doctor utilization by income using concentration indices of the need-standardized use. We found inequity in physician utilization favouring patients who are better off in about half of the OECD countries studied. The degree of pro-rich inequity in doctor use is highest in the United States and Mexico, followed by Finland, Portugal and Sweden. In most countries, we found no evidence of inequity in the distribution of general practitioner visits across income groups, and where it does occur, it often indicates a pro-poor distribution. However, in all countries for which data are available, after controlling for need differences, people with higher incomes are significantly more likely to see a specialist than people with lower incomes and, in most countries, also more frequently. Pro-rich inequity is especially large in Portugal, Finland and Ireland. Although in most OECD countries general practitioner care is distributed fairly equally and is often even pro-poor, the very pro-rich distribution of specialist care tends to make total doctor utilization somewhat pro-rich. This phenomenon appears to be universal, but it is reinforced when private insurance or private care options are offered.
            • Record: found
            • Abstract: found
            • Article: not found

            Non-vigorous physical activity and all-cause mortality: systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies.

            Although previous studies have found physical activity to be associated with lower mortality, the dose-response relationship remains unclear. In this systematic review and meta-analysis we quantify the dose-response relationship of non-vigorous physical activity and all-cause mortality. We aimed to include all cohort studies in adult populations with a sample size of more than 10 000 participants that estimated the effect of different levels of light or moderate physical activity on all-cause mortality. We searched Medline, Embase, Cochrane (DARE), Web of Science and Global Health (June 2009). We used dose-response meta-regression models to estimate the relation between non-vigorous physical activity and mortality. We identified 22 studies that met our inclusion criteria, containing 977 925 (334 738 men and 643 187 women) people. There was considerable variation between the studies in their categorization of physical activity and adjustment for potential confounders. We found that 2.5 h/week (equivalent to 30 min daily of moderate intensity activity on 5 days a week) compared with no activity was associated with a reduction in mortality risk of 19% [95% confidence interval (CI) 15-24], while 7 h/week of moderate activity compared with no activity reduced the mortality risk by 24% (95% CI 19-29). We found a smaller effect in studies that looked at walking alone. Being physically active reduces the risk of all-cause mortality. The largest benefit was found from moving from no activity to low levels of activity, but even at high levels of activity benefits accrue from additional activity.
              • Record: found
              • Abstract: found
              • Article: not found

              Interventions for promoting physical activity.

              Little is known about the effectiveness of strategies to enable people to achieve an increase in their physical activity. To assess the effects of interventions for promoting physical activity in adults aged 16 years and older, not living in an institution. We searched CENTRAL (Issue 4, 2001), MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsychLIT, BIDS ISI, SPORTDISCUS, SIGLE, SCISEARCH (from earliest date available to December 2001) and reference lists of articles. Randomised, controlled, trials comparing different interventions to encourage sedentary adults not living in an institution to become physically active. Studies required a minimum of six months follow up from the start of the intervention to the collection of final data and either used an intention to treat analysis or, failing that, had no more than 20% loss to follow up. At least two reviewers independently assessed each study quality and extracted data. Study authors were contacted for additional information where necessary. Standardised mean differences and 95% confidence intervals were calculated for continuous measures of self reported physical activity and cardio-respiratory fitness. For studies with dichotomous outcomes, odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated. The effect of interventions on self reported physical activity (11 studies; 3940 participants) was positive and moderate, with a pooled standardised mean difference of 0.31 (95% CI 0.12 to 0.50), as was the effect on cardio-respiratory fitness (7 studies; 1406 participants) pooled SMD 0.4 (95% CI 0.09 to 0.70). The effect of interventions in achieving a predetermined threshold of physical activity (6 studies; 2313 participants) was not significant with an odds ratio of 1.30 (95% CI 0.87 to 1.95). There was significant heterogeneity in the reported effects as well as heterogeneity in characteristics of the interventions. The heterogeneity in reported effects was reduced in higher quality studies, when physical activity was self-directed with some professional guidance and when there was on-going professional support. Our review suggests that physical activity interventions have a moderate effect on self reported physical activity and cardio-respiratory fitness, but not on achieving a predetermined level of physical activity. Due to the clinical and statistical heterogeneity of the studies, only limited conclusions can be drawn about the effectiveness of individual components of the interventions. Future studies should provide greater detail of the components of interventions.

                Author and article information

                Role: academic clinical fellow in general practice
                Role: foundation professor of general practice
                Role: senior clinical research associate
                Role: professor of behavioural science
                BMJ : British Medical Journal
                BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.
                26 March 2012
                : 344
                [1 ]General Practice and Primary Care Research Unit, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 0SR, UK
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: G Orrow ghlo2@
                © Orrow et al 2012

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and

                Clinical Trials (Epidemiology)
                General Practice / Family Medicine



                Comment on this article