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Physical activity (PA) is an important tool in health promotion, prevention, curation, and rehabilitation and should be part of general practitioners (GP) consultations. For tailoring GP’s service it is important to know the PA habits of the clients.
Data from the Austrian Health Interview Survey 2014 with 15,770 subjects were analyzed. The association between PA, measured with the Physical Activity Questionnaire of the European Health Intervies Survey (EHIS-PAQ) and having visited a GP within the last 4 weeks was examined in different age groups (15–29, 30–64, and 65+ years). In multivariate analyses we adjusted for sociodemographic and health-related variables (body mass index, 17 chronic diseases, and the use of medication).
In subjects aged 15–29 years and 30–64 years fulfilling aerobic PA recommendations was significantly associated with a lower chance of having consulted the GP with unadjusted OR (95% CI) 0.82 (0.70–0.96) and 0.90 (0.82–0.99), respectively, whereas work-related PA was associated with a higher chance, with OR 1.21 (1.03–1.42) and 1.10 (1.00–1.20), respectively. Adjusting for sociodemographic and health-related factors led to loss of significance. In subjects aged 30–64 years, muscle strengthening PA was associated with a higher chance for GP consultation with OR 1.12 (1.00–1.24) in the fully adjusted model. In subjects aged 65+ years, PA was associated with a lower chance of having visited the GP with OR 0.74 (0.64–0.86) and 0.83 (0.71–0.97) for work related PA and total PA, respectively, in the fully adjusted model.
The association of PA and GP consultation is dependent on age and type of PA, and partly mediated by sociodemographic and health-related factors.