Despite the known health benefits of physical activity (PA), few primary care pediatricians discuss, evaluate, or prescribe PA for children. The goal of this study was to examine pediatricians’ thoughts and practices related to child PA and the perceived facilitators and barriers to implementing PA evaluation and prescription in pediatric primary care clinics.
The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research was used to explore implementation barriers and facilitators. A mixed-method design combined questionnaires and focus groups with 27 pediatricians.
Despite the pediatricians’ beliefs that PA is important for patients, there was wide practice variability in their approaches to discussing PA. Several perceived barriers to implementing PA evaluation and prescription were identified, including lack of knowledge and training, managing time for PA with multiple demands, the need for a team approach and simple PA tools and resources, support for patient tailoring of PA messaging, and a need for PA best practice champions.
The identified barriers to implementing evidence in PA suggest several directions for improvement, including a care-team approach; quick, inexpensive, and simple PA tools; community PA partnerships; PA training in medical education; evidence-based strategies; and PA directories for families. These efforts could facilitate the implementation of PA best practices in pediatrics.