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Review: brief primary care interventions are moderately effective for increasing physical activity

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 QUESTION: In family practice settings, how effective are interventions aimed at increasing physical activity?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching Medline (1980–98), Psychological Abstracts, ERIC, and Healthstar databases and the Journal of Family Practice web site with the terms physical activity, physical activity counselling, primary care, medical office, exercise interventions, and health promotion. Bibliographies of relevant studies and previous reviews were scanned, and 3 experts in the field were contacted to identify unpublished studies.

Study selection

Studies were selected if they were randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or quasi-experimental studies, the intervention was delivered or initiated in a primary care setting, and the results included ≥1 measure of physical activity. Studies focusing solely on cardiovascular disease were excluded.

Data extraction

Data on methodological quality were extracted by 2 independent reviewers based on the RE-AIM framework for evaluating public health interventions. RE-AIM assesses 5 …

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  • Source of funding: not stated.

  • For correspondence: Dr E G Eakin, Center for Community Studies, AMC Cancer Research Center, 1600 Pierce Street, Denver, CO 80214, USA. eakinl{at}