Effectiveness of Physician Counseling Physical Inactivity

There is inconclusive evidence that physician intervention counseling can also lead to changes in physical activity, as studies have shown the effects to be mixed.57,68-72 A 2002 review by the United States Preventive Services Task Force identified only eight studies on which to base their conclu-sion.73 Most studies have tested low-intensity interventions such as 3 to 5 minutes of counseling in a routine outpatient visit and included several hours to several days of provider training. In some of the studies, the patients completed a self-

report tool on physical activity levels or answered questions from a validated survey in the office waiting room or at home. In many of the studies, a research assistant or nurse conducted a baseline assessment and placed it in the chart for the physician to use during the clinical encounter. As such, it is difficult from many of the studies to understand the independent effects of physician counseling. In the six studies that compared an intervention condition, including physician counseling to a usual care control group, the effects on physical activity were mixed. Only one of the studies met all the methodological criteria for a quality rating of "good."73 The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) study found the available evidence to be inconclusive.73

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