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      Factors that Influence Physicians’ and Medical Students’ Confidence in Counseling Patients About Physical Activity

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          Abstract

          Less than half of US adults and two-thirds of US high school students do not meet current US guidelines for physical activity. We examined which factors promoted physicians’ and medical students’ confidence in counseling patients about physical activity. We established an online exercise survey targeting attending physicians, resident and fellow physicians, and medical students to determine their current level of physical activity and confidence in counseling patients about physical activity. We compared their personal level of physical activity with the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines of the US Department of Health and Human Services (US-DHHS). We administered a survey in 2009 and 2010 that used the short form of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. A total of 1,949 individuals responded to the survey, of whom 1,751 (i.e., 566 attending physicians, 138 fellow physicians, 806 resident physicians, and 215 medical students) were included in this analysis. After adjusting for their BMI, the odds that physicians and medical students who met USDHHS guidelines for vigorous activity would express confidence in their ability to provide exercise counseling were more than twice that of physicians who did not meet these guidelines. Individuals who were overweight were less likely to be confident than those with normal BMI, after adjusting for whether they met the vigorous exercise guidelines. Physicians with obesity were even less likely to express confidence in regards to exercise counseling. We conclude that physicians and medical students who had a normal BMI and met vigorous USDHHS guidelines were more likely to feel confident about counseling their patients about physical activity. Our findings suggest that graduate medical school education should focus on health promotion in their students, as this will likely lead to improved health behaviors in their students’ patient populations.

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          Author and article information

          Contributors
          Journal
          8213457
          27493
          J Prim Prev
          J Prim Prev
          The journal of primary prevention
          0278-095X
          1573-6547
          25 October 2019
          June 2014
          30 October 2019
          : 35
          : 3
          : 193-201
          Affiliations
          Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 50 Staniford Street, 4th Floor, Boston, MA 02114, USA
          Palmetto Health Richland Research Administration, Columbia, SC, USA
          Palmetto Health Richland, University of South Carolina, School of Medicine, Columbia, SC, USA
          Palmetto Health Richland, University of South Carolina, School of Medicine, Columbia, SC, USA
          Palmetto Health Richland, University of South Carolina, School of Medicine, Columbia, SC, USA
          Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA
          Author notes
          Article
          PMC6820677 PMC6820677 6820677 nihpa1056233
          10.1007/s10935-014-0345-4
          6820677
          24682887
          Categories
          Article

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