Insights into physical activity promotion among Australian chiropractors: a cross-sectional survey

Matthew Fernandez*, Katie de Luca, Craig Moore, Simon D. French, Paulo Ferreira, Michael Swain

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: Despite the well-known benefits of physical activity, physical inactivity is presently a global health pandemic. Allied healthcare providers, such as chiropractors, knowingly recognise the importance of physical activity and are prepared to routinely discuss and/or counsel patients on this topic; however, little is known about Australian chiropractors in the physical activity setting. Our aim was to explore and identify factors associated with physical activity promotion among Australian chiropractors, including their knowledge of the physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines and their own levels of physical activity.

Methods: From February to May 2021, a convenience sample of Australian chiropractors completed an online survey. Items assessed by Likert scale included: physical activity promotion frequency, with the type, quantity, barriers, perceptions, and feasibility. We asked questions about their familiarity with, and knowledge of, Australian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines, chiropractors' own physical activity, and whether the chiropractors met activity guidelines. Survey responses were descriptively reported. Univariable logistic regression models explored factors explaining frequent physical activity promotion.

Results: Of 217 respondents, 64% reported that they frequently (≥ 70%) recommended a more physically active lifestyle. Only 15% often performed pre-exercise screening, 73% frequently prescribed resistance exercise, 19% reported time as the most frequent barrier, while 37% reported being not at all familiar with the guidelines. Univariable logistic regression models found male chiropractors were more likely to promote physical activity, [odds ratio (OR) = 2.33; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.32-4.12)], while chiropractors who frequently treat children 0-3 years (OR = 0.5; 95% CI: 0.28-0.87), children 4-18 years (OR = 0.42; 95% CI: 0.21-0.86), and pregnant women (OR = 0.5; 95% CI: 0.26-0.94) were less likely. Chiropractors were more likely to promote physical activity if they were familiar with the activity guidelines (OR = 2.9; 95% CI: 1.32-6.41), were confident promoting (OR = 11.6; 95% CI: 1.37-98.71) and prescribing physical activity programs (OR = 4.5; 95% CI: 2.03-9.99).

Conclusion: Most chiropractors confidently and regularly integrate physical activity into practice. Yet, despite acknowledging its importance, one third of chiropractors reported poor knowledge of the Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines. Identifying barriers to the awareness, and implementation of physical activity guidelines should be further explored within chiropractic clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number22
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalChiropractic & manual therapies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2024. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Humans
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Australia
  • Male
  • Female
  • Exercise
  • Adult
  • Middle Aged
  • Health Promotion
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Chiropractic/statistics & numerical data
  • Allied Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Physical activity
  • Promotion
  • Chiropractic


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