Researchers Track Exercise Patterns

Study offers insights on how nurse practitioners can help patients develop healthy habits.

Headlines about the country's expanding waistlines are nothing new, but a recent study of exercise habits in overweight and obese individuals is shedding light on how health professionals can help patients make healthy lifestyle choices.

Researchers from Case Western Reserve University's Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing surveyed 175 overweight and obese patients and found that 29 percent had been exercising for six months, 39 percent exercised regularly and 25 percent contemplated exercising.

Only 12 percent had no desire or thoughts of getting active.

Those with lower BMI scores in the obese range tended to exercise more, according to Mary Quinn Griffin, assistant professor of nursing and study co-author. "This verified other research information that the higher their BMI, the less active people were," she says, adding this is reflective of the overall population.

Quinn Griffin says that nurse practitioners, who see patients for routine health visits and checkups, have an opportunity to help people move from thinking about exercising to putting those good intentions into action. This research can inform those conversations, she says, adding that because a nurse practitioner knows the individual's health condition, he or she can tailor an exercise routine to benefit particular needs.