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AHA: Active Docs More Likely to Advise Patients to Be Active

Review sees link between health care providers' physical activity level, counseling offered

FRIDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- Personal physical activity or fitness levels of health care providers are associated with their behavior toward related counseling, according to a review presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology & Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity & Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions, held from March 19 to 22 in New Orleans.

Isabel Garcia de Quevedo, M.S.P.H., and Felipe Lobelo, M.D., Ph.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention in Atlanta, reviewed the literature to examine the correlation between health care providers' personal physical activity habits and their related counseling practices. Twenty-four observational studies and four intervention studies were included.

The researchers found that personal physical activity habits were suggested to influence counseling behavior and attitudes toward physical activity. In 23 of the observational studies, health care providers' personal physical activity or fitness levels correlated significantly with their behavior toward related counseling. The correlation was seen for physicians, non-physicians, and medical and nursing students. Physicians' physical activity was an independent factor for counseling in four studies. Physical activity was significantly correlated with the perceived frequency of counseling in three studies. One of the four interventional studies focusing on medical students' physical activity habits reported a significant correlation between improved physicians' physical activity levels and counseling (odds ratio, 1.56).

"Patients rely on advice from health care providers to adopt healthier behaviors, so these findings suggest that improving health care providers' physical activity levels may be an easy way to help reduce physical inactivity among the general population," de Quevedo said in a statement.

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