Promoting Physical Activity Through Policy at a Single Safety-Net Clinic: A Pilot Study.

Academic Article


  • BACKGROUND: Physical inactivity is a major issue for African Americans that contributes to increased risk for chronic conditions including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cognitive decline. The purpose of this single-clinic pilot study aimed to determine if a physical activity policy would increase primary-care provider discussions of physical activity during clinic visits using the Exercise is Medicine initiative as a guide. METHODS: The study design involved data collection at three time points. Participants were recruited from a single clinic providing high quality healthcare without regard to ability to pay. Participants included 109 African American patients between the ages of 24 and 81 (39 pre-intervention, 40 at 6 weeks post-intervention, and 30 at 12-months post-intervention). The primary outcome measure was participants' answers related to whether a physical activity discussion occurred with their primary-care provider. RESULTS: At baseline, 13% of participants reported a physical activity discussion with their provider, this increased to 33% at 6 weeks post-intervention. However, at 12-months post-intervention, the percentage of participants who reported a physical activity discussion decreased to 23%. CONCLUSION: Exercise is an underused evidence-based strategy that should be prescribed as a medicine to prevent and manage many chronic health conditions. This pilot study demonstrated the feasibility of improving provider-patient communications related to the importance of daily physical activity behaviors. Further research is needed to determine how to employ and sustain a clinic level policy that will encourage physical activity discussions at every visit.
  • Authors


  • African American, Exercise is Medicine, physical activity, policy, primary-care provider
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bowen PG; Opoku-Agyeman W; Clay OJ; Gina M; Mixon V; Sen BP; Pisu M; Martin MY
  • Volume

  • 6
  • Issue

  • 2