Factors associated with physical activity promotion by allied and other non-medical health professionals: A systematic review

Mr Paul Crisford1, Professor Tania Winzenberg1, Professor  Alison Venn1, Dr  Martin Schultz1, Dr Dawn Aitken1, Dr  Verity  Cleland1

1Menzies Institute For Medical Research, Hobart, Australia


Health professionals are encouraged to promote physical activity (PA), but little is known about PA promotion behaviours outside general medical practice. This study aims to identify the factors associated with PA promotion behaviour amongst allied health and other non-medical health professionals.


Systematic search, data extraction, narrative synthesis (thematic analysis) and quality assessment of each study.


Five electronic databases (PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, Psychinfo, Web of Science) and reference lists of included studies. Studies including practising health professionals (excluding medical doctors), a PA promotion behaviour measure, a test of association between potential influencing factors and PA promotion behaviour, and written in English.


The search resulted in identification of 8169 studies of which 30 studies involving 7734 dental hygienists, dieticians, health care support workers, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists and practice assistants were included. Self-efficacy in PA promotion, positive beliefs in the benefits of PA, assessing patients’ PA, and PA promotion training were the main factors associated with PA promotion. Lack of remuneration was not associated with PA promotion behaviour. Common study limitations included a lack of information on non-responders, data collection by survey only and limited reliability or validity testing of measurements.


The factors identified may prove useful in guiding strategies to encourage greater PA promotion by the broader health professions. The absence of studies from some health professions and the lack of randomised control intervention trials highlights the need for further research.


Associate Diploma in podiatry – Sydney Institute of Technology 1985

BSc in podiatric studies – 1st class Honors – Brighton University UK  1997

Current (part time) PhD candidate – Menzies Research Institute Tasmania since 2010. “Factors influencing podiatrists to engage in physical activity promotion”

Practicing podiatrist since 1985 both public and private

Sydney Technical College Podiatry Department part time teaching  1990-1994

University of Western Sydney part time lecturing  2002

NSW Podiatry Association State Board 1993-1995

SMA (Tasmania) State Board 2006-present

Vice President  2007-2008

President  2008-present

SMA National Board 2007-2011

AAPSM National Board 2009-2011

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