Clinician-patient communication about physical activity in an underserved population

Jennifer K. Carroll, Kevin Fiscella, Sean C. Meldrum, Geoffrey C. Williams, Christopher N. Sciamanna, Pascal Jean-Pierre, Gary R. Morrow, Ronald M. Epstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: The 5A (Ask, Advise, Agree, Assist, Arrange) model, used to promote patient behavior changes in primary care, can also be applied to physical activity. Our goal was to assess primary care physicians' use of the 5A model in discussions with underserved populations about physical activity. Methods: We analyzed 51 audio-recorded, transcribed office visits on randomly selected patient care days and after-visit patient surveys with adults in 2 community health centers in Rochester, New York. Results: The patient sample was 51% African-American and predominantly female (70%), with the majority having a high school-level education or less (66%) and an annual household income <$39,000 (57%). Physical activity was discussed during 19 of the 51 visits, which included 16 (84%) visits with "Ask"; 10 (53%) with "Advise"; 4 (21%) with "Agree"; 5 (26%) with "Assist"; and 0 with "Arrange" statements. Most discussions of physical activity contained several Ask or Advise statements but few Agree, Assist, or Arrange statements. Conclusion: Communication about physical activity that included Agree, Arrange, and Assist statements of the 5A model was infrequent. Health promotion interventions in underserved populations should target these steps and prompt patients to initiate communication to improve physical activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-127
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Family Practice


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