Z. Rethorn1, K. Covington1, C. Cook1, J. Bezner2
1Duke University, Doctor of Physical Therapy Division, Durham, United States, 2Texas State University, Department of Physical Therapy, Round Rock, United States

Background: Within the healthcare system, physical therapists are ideally situated to promote PA. Physical therapists can educate patients and prescribe PA to mitigate the burden of physical inactivity.Clinical practice patterns allow for strong relationships and numerous opportunities for coaching to promote PA. Across the globe, physical therapists overwhelmingly consider PA promotion as part of their professional role. Clinic-based PA promotion by physical therapists doubled the odds of adults meeting the PA guidelines and total PA levels were increased up to one year following PA promotion. Despite the demonstrated efficacy of PA promotion, international studies have demonstrated that PA promotion is not routine practice for physical therapists. Identifying factors that influence physical therapists’ decisions to engage in PA promotion is crucial in order to develop implementation strategies, which will increase PA promotion by physical therapists. To date, there is no published systematic literature review synthesizing factors influencing PA promotion in physical therapist practice.

Purpose: To characterize factors which influence physical therapists’ physical activity (PA) promotion practices.

Methods: Six databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, Scopus, CINAHL, PsychInfo, and Web of Science) were searched from inception to July 9, 2020. We included studies reporting physical therapists’ PA promotion practices and factors which influenced these practices. Studies were excluded if they did not separate physical therapist PA promotion practices and influencing factors from other health professionals. Our search yielded 11,551 references and 22 studies were included in the qualitative synthesis. 5 studies were eligible to be quantitatively synthesized in a meta-analysis.

Results: Perceived lack of time was the most consistently reported barrier to PA promotion. Knowledge of PA promotion, confidence, and a belief in the priority of PA promotion were associated with PA promotion. Physical therapists’ own PA levels were inconsistently associated with PA promotion practices.

Conclusion(s): Physical therapists’ decisions to promote PA is influenced by personal, patient, implementation and environment related factors. Lack of time and self-efficacy are the factors most consistently associated with PA promotion practices.

Implications: Implementation strategies to integrate PA promotion should take into account perceived time barriers and explore training programs to increase confidence.

Funding, acknowledgements: N/A

Keywords: physical activity, Health promotion, behavior change

Topic: Health promotion & wellbeing/healthy ageing/physical activity

Did this work require ethics approval? No
Institution: Duke University
Committee: Institutional Review Board
Reason: Secondary analysis of previously published data

All authors, affiliations and abstracts have been published as submitted.

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