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A Strength Training Program for Primary Care Patients, Central Pennsylvania, 2012
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  • Description:
    Introduction

    Primary care providers can recommend strength training programs to use “Exercise as Medicine,” yet few studies have examined the interest of primary care patients in these programs.

    Methods

    We conducted a cross-sectional survey of primary care patients in central Pennsylvania. Interest in participating in free group-based strength training and weight control programs was assessed, in addition to patient demographics, medical history, and quality of life.

    Results

    Among 414 patients, most (61.0%) were aged 54 or older, and 64.0% were female. More patients were interested in a strength training program (55.3%) than in a weight control program (45.4%). Nearly three-quarters (72.8%) of those reporting 10 or more days of poor physical health were interested in a strength training program compared with 49.5% of those reporting no days of poor physical health. After adjusting for potential confounders, those reporting poorer physical health had 2.7 greater odds (95% confidence interval, 1.4–5.1) of being interested in a strength training program compared with those reporting better physical health. Patients with hypertension, diabetes, or high cholesterol were not more interested in a strength training program than those without these conditions.

    Conclusion

    Primary care practices may consider offering or referring patients to community-based strength training programs. This study observed high levels of interest in these widely available programs. Practices may also consider screening and referring those with poorer physical health, as they may be the most interested and have the most to gain from participating.

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