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Movement as Medicine for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: Pilot Feasibility Study of a Physical Activity Promotion Intervention for At-Risk Patients in Primary Care

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Keegan Knittle, Dr Sarah Charman, Dr Sophie O'Connell, Dr Leah Avery, Professor Mike Catt, Professor Falko Sniehotta, Professor Mike TrenellORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© Keegan Knittle, Sarah J Charman, Sophie O'Connell, Leah Avery, Michael Catt, Falko F Sniehotta, Michael I Trenell. Background: Physical activity (PA) can reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, and although primary care settings offer a large reach to promote PA and reduce CVD risk, primary health care professionals may lack self-efficacy and tools to effectively promote PA in practice. Movement as Medicine for CVD Prevention is a suite of 2 theory-based, web-based behavioral interventions-one for health care professionals and one for patients-which may offer a pathway for promoting PA and reducing CVD risk in primary care. Objective: This study aims to examine the feasibility and possible effects of Movement as Medicine for CVD Prevention. Methods: This nonrandomized pilot study recruited participants from primary care organizations in the Northeast of England. Enrolled health care professionals followed a theory-based, web-based course on PA counseling and motivational interviewing techniques. After the course, health care professionals delivered behavior change consultations based on motivational interviewing to inactive individuals with >20% risk of developing CVD within 10 years. Patients were then given access to a website based on self-determination and self-regulation theories, which targeted increased levels of PA. Outcomes were assessed at baseline and after 3 months, and patient data were analyzed on an intention-to-treat basis in a multiple imputation data set. Results: Recruitment rates of primary care organizations fell below expectations. A total of 11 health care professionals from 3 enrolled primary care organizations completed the web-based course and reported increases in important theoretical determinants of PA promotion in practice (eg, self-efficacy, Cohen d=1.24, 95% CI 0.67-1.80; and planning, Cohen d=0.85, 95% CI −0.01 to 1.69). A total of 83 patients were enrolled in the study, and 58 (70%) completed both the baseline and 3-month assessments. Compared with baseline, patients had higher levels of objective (Cohen d=0.77, 95% CI 0.13-1.41) but not subjective (Cohen d=0.40, 95% CI −0.03 to 0.83) moderate to vigorous PA at 3 months. Patients also reported higher levels of the PA determinants of intention, self-efficacy, intrinsic motivation, and action planning and action control at 3 months (effect sizes ranged from Cohen d=0.39 to 0.60). Conclusions: The Movement as Medicine for CVD Prevention intervention seems to have the potential to improve patient PA behaviors and important determinants of health care professionals' PA promotion practices. However, the recruitment rates of primary care organizations in this study were low and would need to be increased to examine the efficacy of the program. This study offers several insights into improving the feasibility of this primary care PA promotion pathway.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Knittle K, Charman SJ, O'Connell S, Avery L, Catt M, Sniehotta FF, Trenell MI

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: JMIR Cardio

Year: 2022

Volume: 6

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 29/06/2022

Acceptance date: 27/12/2021

Date deposited: 12/08/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2561-1011

Publisher: JMIR Publications Inc.


DOI: 10.2196/29035


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County Durham Sport