UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Turning exercise into medicine : exploring the feasibility of a 3 step physician workshop to promote the physical activity prescription behaviours of family physicians Windt, Johann Dirk


Objective: To investigate the feasibility of an educational workshop with the provision of practical tools to change the proportion of family physicians in our sample who provided their patients with written physical activity prescriptions. Design: A pre-post study. Setting: Abbotsford and Mission, British Columbia. Participants: 25 family physicians registered with the Abbotsford or Mission Divisions of Family Practice. Intervention: A three-hour educational workshop for family physicians combined with practical tools to facilitate physical activity prescription. The educational content of the workshop included 1) assessing patients’ physical activity levels, 2) using motivational interviewing techniques to encourage physical activity, and 3) providing written physical activity prescriptions when appropriate. Tools to facilitate physician behaviour changes included a 1) ‘physical activity vital sign’, a measure of patient self-reported physical activity, and 2) copies of the “Exercise Prescription and Referral Tool” designed by the Exercise is Medicine Canadian Taskforce, a written prescription pad for physicians to provide physical activity prescriptions to their patients. Participating physicians completed a bespoke questionnaire before and four weeks after their attendance at the workshop. Outcome Measures: The feasibility of the intervention was ascertained by assessing changes in the proportion of family physicians who reported providing written physical activity prescriptions at four week follow up, compared to baseline. Exploratory outcomes included changes in physicians’: 1) other physical activity prescription behaviours, 2) the perceived importance of various barriers to physical activity prescription, 3) knowledge and confidence regarding physical activity prescription, 4) knowledge of the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines and 5) self-reported physical activity levels. McNemar’s test evaluated changes in proportions before and after the workshop, while Wilcoxon signed-rank tests evaluated changes in Likert data. Results: Twenty five family physicians completed the baseline questionnaire and attended the workshop, with 100% follow up response rate. The proportion of family physicians who reported providing written physical activity prescriptions in their clinical practice increased from 10 (40%) at baseline to 17 (68%) four weeks after the intervention. Conclusion: Educational workshops combined with practical tools appear to be a feasible method to encourage the use of written physical activity prescriptions among family physicians in this setting.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada