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van der Ploeg, H P.1; Streppel, K R. M.1; van der Beek, A J.1; van der Woude, L H. V.1; Vollenbroek-Hutten, M1; van Mechelen, W FACSM1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2003 - Volume 35 - Issue 5 - p S375
H-13L Free Communication/Poster Exercise Training and Health

1Department of Social Medicine, Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam and Roessingh Research and Development, Rehabilitation Centre Het Roessingh, Enschede, The Netherlands (Sponsor: Willem van Mechelen, FACSM)

For individuals with disabilities a physically active lifestyle can reduce the risk of secondary health problems and improve overall functioning. In programs promoting physical activity for people with disabilities a stages of change approach can be useful.

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Determine the stages of changes regarding physical activity in rehabilitation patients and find out whether there are differences between diagnoses.

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From ten Dutch rehabilitation centres 659 subjects were recruited. The following diagnoses were included: leg amputation, stroke, orthopaedic, spinal cord injury, rheumatoid arthritis, back disorders and whiplash. Precontemplators were excluded. Stage of change was assessed using a questionnaire around seven weeks before the end of the rehabilitation period.

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The distribution over the different stages of change was 26%, 20%, 23% and 30% for the contemplation, ready for action, action and maintenance stage, respectively. The percentages of contemplators differed from 18% in the rheumatoid arthritis and whiplash groups to 41% in leg amputees. Percentages in the ready for action stage ranged from 7% in spinal cord injured to 31% in the rheumatoid arthritis group. The action stage had a range of 18%–27%. The maintenance stage had a range from 22% in leg amputees to 40% in the whiplash group. However, Chi-square showed only borderline significance when comparing all diagnoses on the distribution of patients over the different stages of change (p = 0.08).

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Rehabilitation patients are equally distributed over the different stages of change. More importantly, there seem to be differences between the diagnoses in the distribution over the stages. These possible differences should be taken into account when applying physical activity promotion programs to patients with different diagnoses.

©2003The American College of Sports Medicine