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Perceptions and Attitudes of Primary Healthcare Providers in Riyadh City, Saudi Arabia, towards the Promotion of Physical Activity

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Abstract (2. Language): 
Background: Physical inactivity increases the risk of several chronic, non-communicable diseases which ultimately reduces life expectancy. Recently, major lifestyle changes in Saudi Arabia due to economic growth, globalization, and modernization resulted in physical inactivity and low level of physical fitness. Health care professionals can play an important role in developing awareness about physical fitness among people. However, little is known about the impact of current health promotion practices of Saudi healthcare providers. This cross-sectional study evaluates Saudi primary healthcare providers’ attitudes, knowledge, and awareness associated with advising patients about physical activity during routine consultations. Methods: A quantitative survey on 803 respondents who comprised of general physicians, nurses, nurse assistants, dieticians and health educators in five districts of Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia was conducted using convenience sampling method. Results: The data showed that most of the primary care staffs are quite enthusiastic in promoting physical activity among the patients and revealed that they routinely discussed and advised about the benefits of physical fitness. However, there are some factors acting as barriers for promoting physical activity, such as i) lack of time, ii) lack of educational materials for patients, iii) lack of proper training and protocols for health care professionals, iv) lack of patient cooperation, and v) lack of financial incentive. Conclusion: Proper strategies should be developed to motivate primary health care professionals, so that they can effectively encourage the general population to be more active physically. Hence, there is an urgent need to integrate physical activity promotion in to practice consultation in Saudi Arabia. In addition, more efforts are required from the policy makers and health professionals to gather sufficient knowledge about current physical activity recommendations.



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