Associated Sociodemographic and Facility Patterning of Uptake, Attendance, and Session Count Within a Scottish Exercise Referral Scheme

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: Exercise referral schemes (ERS) aim to tackle noncommunicable disease via increasing levels of physical activity. Health benefits are reliant on uptake and attending ERS sessions. Hence, it is important to understand which characteristics may influence these parameters to target interventions to improve uptake and attendance to those who need it most. Method: Secondary analysis of one ERS database was conducted to (1) profile participants’ nonuptake of exercise referral; (2) describe any differences between nonattenders and attenders; and (3) report session count of attenders, exploring any relationship between attender demographics and session count. Results: The study showed that (1) sociodemographic profile of nonattenders was very similar to that of those who attended; (2) there was a high, early withdrawal rate of attenders wherein 68% exited the scheme at 5 exercise sessions or less; and (3) session count did not appear to differ by demographic characteristics. Conclusions: Nonattendance and session count did not appear to differ by demographic characteristics. Attendance at ERS was low. Nonuptake and reduced attendance may limit any associated health benefits that may be achieved from ERS. Therefore, it is important to identify additional factors that may influence participants’ choice to uptake and attend ERS.

Hunter and Galloway are with the Physiology, Exercise and Nutrition Research Group, Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, University of Stirling, Stirling, United Kingdom. Hubbard and Gorely are with the Department of Nursing and Midwifery, University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), Inverness, UK, United Kingdom. At the time of the study, Shore was a part of the Physiology, Exercise and Nutrition Research Group, Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, University of Stirling, Stirling, United Kingdom. Shore is now with the School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom.

Galloway (s.d.r.galloway@stir.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
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