[Promotion of physical activity for secondary prevention in patients with chronic diseases: the situation in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg]

A Lion, A Urhausen, C Delagardelle, R Seil, D Theisen
Bulletin de la Société des Sciences Médicales du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg 2014, (3): 57-72
The regular practice of physical activities has health benefits in healthy subjects (primary prevention) and in patients with non-communicable diseases (secondary prevention). This study aimed to perform a stocktaking of the physical activities programs for patients or individuals at risk in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. The organizations offering therapeutic physical activities (TPA) have been investigated. Eleven groups offering TPA adapted to different non-communicable diseases were characterized by their costs, instructors, participants and potential participants. These groups were divided into five main categories: cardiology, neurology, obesity, oncology, and orthopedics. During on-site meetings, 41 professionals, 192 participants and 34 potential participants have been interviewed during the period September 2013 to April 2014. The results show that about 40 hours of TPA, 17 hours of which in cardiology, are currently proposed every week, except during school holidays. The main TPA are gymnastics, aerobics, swimming, Nordic walking, cycling, and resistance training. The national coverage is quite low, especially for obesity, neurology and orthopedics. The costs is mainly related to the human resources, the gym being often borrowed but rarely available during school holidays. Between 200 and 400 individuals participate in the TPA. The average number of participants per hour is 8.9 (± 5.1), which represents only 50% of the maximal capacity estimated by the instructors (18.0 ± 8.2 participants per hour). The recruitment process is different according to the groups but the medical doctors and the physiotherapists are mainly involved in this process. However, the majority of the potential participants were not aware of the existence of the groups. The existence of these groups is a positive point, since it contributes to compensate for the current lack of concrete action of the public and private authorities. However, the current TPA offer is clearly insufficient. The groups are frail, on the one hand because their future relies exclusively upon the idealism of a few key actors, and on the other hand because the participation rate is low. This low rate is related to a lack of information and to organizational constraints. However, the public health action initiated by these groups should be perpetuated and strengthened with a better structuration and professionalization. Finally, the increase of the number of participants remains the main objective.

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