Implementation determinants of physical activity interventions in primary health care settings using the TICD framework: a systematic review

Catarina Santos Silva, Cristina Godinho, Jorge Encantado, Bruno Rodrigues, Eliana V. Carraça, Pedro J. Teixeira, Marlene Nunes Silva

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Background: Translation into practice of effective physical activity interventions in primary care is difficult, due to a complex interaction of implementation determinants. We aimed to identify implementation barriers and facilitators of four primary care interventions: physical activity assessment, counselling, prescription, and referral. Methods: A systematic review of qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods studies published since 2016 was conducted. The “Tailored Implementation for Chronic Diseases” (TICD) framework was adapted to extract and synthesize barriers and facilitators. Results: Sixty-two studies met the inclusion criteria. Barriers (n = 56) and facilitators (n = 55) were identified across seven domains, related to characteristics of the intervention, individual factors of the implementers and receivers, organizational factors, and political and social determinants. The five most frequently reported determinants were: professionals’ knowledge and skills; intervention feasibility/compatibility with primary health care routine; interventions’ cost and financial incentives; tools and materials; and professionals’ cognitions and attitudes. “Social, political and legal factors” domain was the least reported. Physical activity counselling, prescription, and referral were influenced by determinants belonging to all the seven domains. Conclusion: The implementation of physical activity interventions in primary care is influenced by a broader range of determinants. Barriers and facilitators related with health professionals, intervention characteristics, and available resources were the most frequently reported. A deep understanding of the local context, with particularly emphasis on these determinants, should be considered when preparing an intervention implementation, in order to contribute for designing tailored implementation strategies and optimize the interventions’ effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1082
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Barriers
  • Determinants of implementation
  • Facilitators
  • Physical activity interventions
  • Primary care


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