GPs’ perspectives regarding their sedentary behaviour and physical activity: a qualitative interview study

Richard S. Mayne, Nigel D. Hart, Mark Tully, Jason Wilson, Neil Heron

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Abstract

Background: General practice is a highly sedentary occupation, with many GPs spending more than 10.5 hours sitting each workday. This excessive sedentary behaviour and lack of physical activity (PA) is potentially detrimental to the health of GPs, as well as their ability to counsel patients regarding sedentary behaviour and PA. There is a lack of prior research examining the perspectives of GPs regarding their sedentary behaviour and PA. Aim: To explore GPs’ perspectives regarding their sedentary behaviour and PA. Design & setting: A qualitative interview study of GPs in Northern Ireland. Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 13 GPs who had previously taken part in a study to objectively measure their levels of sedentary behaviour and PA. Interview transcripts were analysed using deductive thematic analysis. The Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) was used to facilitate identification of barriers and enablers affecting the ability of GPs to increase their PA. Results: Key themes were categorised within six theoretical domains (environmental context and resources, social professional role and identity, goals, social influences, knowledge, and intentions) with sub-themes within each domain. Conclusion: Most GPs are unhappy with their current levels of sedentary behaviour and PA, and are concerned with how this is affecting their health. Numerous barriers and facilitators were identified affecting the ability of GPs to increase their PA, including working environment, and personal and professional responsibilities, among others. Addressing these could improve the health of GPs and their ability to counsel patients regarding sedentary behaviour and PA.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberBJGPO.2022.0008
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice Open (BJGP Open)
Volume6
Issue number3
Early online date10 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study is funded by the Health and Social Care Research and Development Division, Public Health Agency’s GP Academic Research Training Scheme under grant number EAT/5332/19. The funding body had no influence in the design of the study nor in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data as well as the writing of related manuscripts.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Authors

Keywords

  • sedentary behaviour
  • physical activity
  • general practitioner
  • GP
  • primary care
  • qualitative research methodology
  • Qualitative research methodology
  • Exercise
  • Primary health care
  • Sedentary behaviour
  • General practitioners
  • Gp

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