Exercise Prescription for Non-Communicable Diseases: Barriers and Physical Activity Behaviors of Healthcare Providers in Hospital Setting


Background: Exercise prescription is a better method of prevention and management for non-communicable diseases than pharmaceuticals due to; it is no environmental impact, low budget consumption and reduced economic impact, a less side effect. Studies have demonstrated the benefits of exercise in the treatment and prevention of almost every common medical problem seen today. It is clear that patients, who engage in an active and fit way of life, live longer, healthier, and better lives. Physicians must assess each patient’s exercise habits and inform them of the risks of being sedentary. The purpose of this study was to investigate the possible barriers not to prescribing exercise as medicine and the physical activity behavior of healthcare providers. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional research design was carried out. The sample size of this study was 353 healthcare providers (medical doctors =107, 30.3%, nurses =157, 44.5%, and midwives = 89, 25.2%), and the data was collected through self-administered questionnaires. Results: Most of, 122(34.6%), healthcare providers (HCPs) agreed that the absence of exercise prescription guidelines for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the hospital setting was a barrier, and 29.74% of the participants revealed that their physical activity stage of change of behavior was at the contemplation stage.  61.2% and 59.2% of HCPs have not participated in vigorous as well as moderate physical exercise respectively. The physical activity level of HCPs was significantly correlated with exercise prescription barriers and physical activity stage of change of behavior (rho = -0.79, p <0.005; rho = 0.88, p< 0.001 respectively). Conclusion: The physical activity behaviors of healthcare providers were low. There were no standardized guidelines to prescribe exercise for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the hospital setting. The majority of HCPs live a physically inactive lifestyle. HCPs who had a better physical activity level; had a greater physical activity stage of behavior change and exercise prescription practice.

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