The initiation and further progression of a physical activity referral scheme in a Swedish county 2001-2009
Several studies indicate that promotion of physical activity in health care settings is an underused method for promoting health in the population as well as for preventing and treating diseases. Physical activity referral schemes have been used as a method for activating patients. The aim of this study was to describe the development of prescribing physical activity in the county of Halland, Sweden from the start in 2001 until 2009. Data were obtained from the health authorities in the county of Halland on how many written prescriptions on physical activity were administered per clinic from 2005 until 2009. During 2008, the year when most prescriptions were written, data on how many doctors were employed in the primary health care were obtained. A mean value of five prescriptions per doctor was administered per year. There was no indication of a change in the number of prescriptions between 2005 and 2009. This study indicates that the overwhelming evidence for physical activity in prevention and treatment of diseases does not seem to be sufficient to convince health professionals to use physical activity referral schemes. It is thus vital that further research is performed on the barriers against prescribing physical activity and how to overcome these barriers.