Project Summary


This project has, as the overall goal, the establishment of a collaborative interdisciplinary primary care team to encourage physical activity (PA) by integrating a physical activity counsellor into the primary heath care team.

Primary Research Question

Will a higher proportion of patients receiving brief physical activity counselling from their Health Care Providers (HCP; physician or nurse-practitioner) AND counselling from a physical activity counsellor show greater improvements in motivation and confidence to participate in PA over a 3 and 6 month period than those patients receiving brief physical activity counselling from their HCP only?


A randomized controlled trial with two arms: 1) HCP brief PA counselling (3-4 minutes) and 2) HCP brief PA counselling (3-4 minutes) + intense PA counselling from a PAC (3 months) is planned. This RCT involves testing a self-determination theory-based counseling intervention using an objective measure to track short and long term changes in PA, determining why the intervention is effective or ineffective by measuring key mediating variables, and assessing fitness and metabolic outcomes.

Project Updates

Updated Friday, February 24, 2006

The PAC project has been granted a two-month extension by the MOHLTC, which means that the project will finish May 31st this year. The intervention phase of the PAC project finished in mid-December, 2005. Our physical activity counsellor is now counselling all the control group participants who are interested (one 60 minute face-to-face session followed-up by one telephone session). At this stage all of our patients have concluded the fifth of six time points for quantitative data collection, and three quarters have finished the entire protocol. All questionnaires will be completed by mid-March and the final objective measures of physical activity will be in the last week of March. In addition we have completed all data collection with our physical activity counsellor and with the health care providers. Furthermore we have only a few patient interviews to complete (15 patients are being interviewed at three time points). A qualitative data analyst has been employed and the analysis is well underway.

In terms of dissemination, three articles that concern the lead-up to this project have been accepted for publication in the near future. No less than 10 writing groups have been formed to write papers about the project for academic journals. The first of these papers, describing the methods and the intervention, will be submitted to the Health Education Research in April. Closely following this, the main outcomes paper will be submitted to the Canadian Medical Association Journal and a process paper to Evaluation and the Health Professions. Finally, a Self-Determination Theory paper on physical activity behaviour change will be submitted to the Psychology of Sport and Exercise journal. Further dissemination is forthcoming at several conferences this spring such as that of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in San Francisco, and the International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health in Atlanta.

© 2005 PAC Project