Brief Report  |   June 2018
First-Year Osteopathic Medical Students’ Knowledge of and Attitudes Toward Physical Activity
Author Notes
  • From the Department of Family Medicine at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens (Drs Guseman and Beverly) and the Department of Translational Biomedical Sciences (Mr Whipps), the Diabetes Institute (Drs Guseman, Howe, and Beverly), and the College of Health Sciences and Professions (Dr Howe) at Ohio University in Athens. 
  • Financial Disclosures: None reported. 
  • Support: Funding for the gift cards was obtained from the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine's student seed funding grant program. 
  •  *Address correspondence to Emily Hill Guseman, PhD, Department of Family Medicine, Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, 1 Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701-2979. Email: gusemane@ohio.edu
     
Article Information
Medical Education / Psychiatry
Brief Report   |   June 2018
First-Year Osteopathic Medical Students’ Knowledge of and Attitudes Toward Physical Activity
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, June 2018, Vol. 118, 389-395. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2018.083
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, June 2018, Vol. 118, 389-395. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2018.083
Abstract

Context: Current guidelines recommend that primary care physicians provide physical activity counseling as part of routine preventive health care. However, education regarding physical activity counseling often is not included or is inadequately covered in medical school curriculum, and it is unclear whether future physicians are prepared to offer effective counseling in this area.

Objective: To examine first-year medical students’ knowledge of and attitudes toward physical activity and the importance of physical activity in patient counseling.

Methods: An anonymous electronic survey was distributed to all first-year students enrolled at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. The survey assessed students’ knowledge, beliefs, and behavior regarding physical activity and physical activity counseling for patients. The frequencies of students’ weekly physical activity were computed to assess students’ physical activity behaviors. Attitudes toward personal importance of physical activity and physical activity counseling in primary care were also assessed by response frequency. The relationship between students’ knowledge of and participation in physical activity and the priority placed on exercise for future patients were assessed by correlation.

Results: Of 243 potential participants, 144 students (59.3%) returned the survey. The majority of students (131 of 144 [91.0%]) indicated that living a healthy lifestyle was very or extremely important to them, and 125 of 144 (86.9%) prioritized physical activity as moderately, very, or extremely important. Of 122 students, 81 (66.4%) exercised for at least 30 minutes on 3 or more of the past 7 days, and 36 (29.5%) reported doing so on 5 or more of the past 7 days. Nearly all of the students (127 of 133 [95.5%]) indicated that exercise is important for their future patients, 97 of 133 (72.9%) indicated feeling moderately or extremely comfortable counseling patients on exercise, and 113 of 134 (84.3%) desired to include physical activity counseling in their practice. Fifty of 134 students (40.3%) indicated that they were aware of current physical activity recommendations for adults in the United States; however, of these 50 students, 1 (2.0%) provided a correct definition of the national recommendations.

Conclusion: Although students prioritized healthy lifestyles for themselves and their future patients and indicated a desire to include physical activity counseling as part of routine clinical care, the majority were unaware of the current physical activity recommendations. Thus, there is a need to address physical activity recommendations in the medical school curriculum.

Subscribe to view more

For full access to this article, log in to an existing user account, purchase an annual subscription, or purchase a short-term subscription.

Order a subscription

Subscribe

Pay Per View

Entire Journal
30-Day Access

$30.00

Buy Now

This Issue
7-Day Access

$15.00

Buy Now

This article
24-Hour Access

$5.00

Buy Now

Sign In Or Create an account

Please sign in using your Osteopathic.org login.
If you do not have an AOA login, you may create a new account.

Or Subscribe