Effectiveness of an Exercise Is Medicine (EIM)TM Referral Program to Change Exercise Behaviors and Efficacy.


Wilhelm, N., Kelly, J., Kovacs, S., Urda, J., Winters, C., Larouere, B., Smith, K., and Lynn, J. Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA.

Purpose: The purpose of the project was to examine changes in physical activity, self-efficacy, and program satisfaction for participants of the EIM Referral Program. Methods: As part of the EIM referral Program at Slippery Rock University, students utilizing the Student Health Center were screened by a nurse practitioner for a “sixth vital sign”, which was reported as frequency and duration of physical activity (PA) per week. Students reporting fewer than 150 minutes of PA per week were eligible for referral to a senior Exercise Science Intern. At the beginning of the program, the Exercise Science Intern provided participants with motivational interviewing and coaching to create goals and initiate behavior change. Participants completed pre and post fitness assessments and six weeks of individualized exercise prescription, meeting with the Exercise Science Intern twice per week. At the end of the program, participants completed a confidential program evaluation. Results: Twenty participants (age = 24.55 + 12.61; 4 males, 16 females) who had no regular exercise program completed the intervention. Two non-traditional participants referred through their physician were included in the data. There was 85% program compliance among participants within the six week timeframe. One hundred percent of participants reported feeling more confident about exercising regularly, and 100% reported having a plan in place to continue to exercise.

Conclusion: Based on the results, the exercise intervention through the EIM Referral Program at Slippery Rock University was successful to increase physical activity levels and self-efficacy. Additionally, the intervention was successful to facilitate positive behavior change and establish a plan to continue a regular exercise program.

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