Research Output
What should all health professionals know about movement behaviour change? An international Delphi-based consensus statement
  Background: The World Health Organization has called for action to integrate physical activity promotion into healthcare settings. There is a lack of consensus on the competencies required by health professionals to deliver effective movement behaviour change support. The objective of this study was to establish key competencies relevant for all health professionals to support individuals to change their movement behaviours.

Methods: Consensus was obtained using a three-phase Delphi study. Participants with expertise in physical activity and sedentary behaviour were asked to report what knowledge, skills and attributes they believed health professionals should possess in relation to movement behaviour change. A series of proposed competencies were developed and rated for importance. Finally, participants were asked to indicate agreement for inclusion, with consensus defined as group level agreement of at least 80%.

Results: Participants from 11 countries, working in academic (55%), clinical (30%), or combined academic/clinical (13%) roles reached consensus across three rounds (n=40, n=36, n=34, respectively) on 11 competencies. Participants agreed that health professionals should recognise, take ownership of, and practice interprofessional collaboration in supporting movement behaviour change; support positive culture around these behaviours; communicate using person-centred approaches that consider determinants, barriers, and facilitators of movement behaviours; explain the important health impacts of these behaviours; and, recognise how their own behaviour influences movement behaviour change support.

Conclusions: Consensus on a set of key competencies was achieved; these competencies should be integrated into health professional training and professional accreditation standards to improve physical activity promotion in health care settings.

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  • Date:

    04 October 2023

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  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded; New Funder


Alsop, T., Lehman, E., Brauer, S., Forbes, R., Hanson, C. L., Healy, G., …Gomersall, S. (2023). What should all health professionals know about movement behaviour change? An international Delphi-based consensus statement. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 57(22), 1419-1427.



Physical activity, sedentary behaviour, health promotion, education, consensus

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