Lifestyle behaviour change (FS-07)

Focused symposium (FS)
Sunday 2 July 2017, 11:00-12:30
Ballroom East

Söderlund A1, Dean E2, Skinner M3, Moffat M4,5
1Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Physiotherapy, Västerås, Sweden, 2Univesity of British Columbia, Department of Physical Therapy, Vancouver, Canada, 3University of Otago, School of Physiotherapy, Dunedin, New Zealand, 4New York University, Department of Physical Therapy, New York, United States, 5World Confederation for Physical Therapy, Immediate Past-President, New York, United States

Learning objectives

  1. Consistent with physical therapists’ practice pattern: To describe an evidence-informed lifestyle-behaviour change tool kit for physical therapists, and the biopsychosocial behavioural strategies needed to effect positive lifestyle-behaviour change in patients/clients.
  2. To review the discrete multi-level organisational steps (from WCPT to its member organizations) needed to integrate health promotion into standard practice (i.e., the tool kit and the behavioural approaches to effect positive health behaviour change in patients/clients).
  3. To describe the standards and examine the mechanisms for integrating health promotion practice into physical therapy entry-level education


As the leading established non-pharmacological health profession, physical therapy has a primary responsibility to direct and set the example among the health professions with respect to integrating health promotion into standard practice (Bury and Moffat, 2014; Dean et al, 2014a). Multiple UN/WHO reports/position statements (Beaglehole, 2011; WHO, 2013), and two of three Global Physical Therapy Summits on Global Health published to date (Dean et al, 2011; 2014b) have already described unequivocal evidence for the need to prevent and reverse as well as manage lifestyle-related non-communicable diseases and their risk factors, in particular, those related to physical inactivity, smoking and poor nutrition; and, across WCPT regions. These advances have inevitably raised the question about integrating this content into practice and professional entry-level education (Dean et al, 2014a; Dean and Söderlund, 2015). In the symposium, threshold standards are described including behavioural principles for effecting positive lifestyle-behaviour change within a physical therapy context (Bodner et al, 2013; Elvén et al, 2015). Then, organisational principles are reviewed. The review is designed to facilitate the integration of the content into accreditation guidelines for contemporary physical therapy practice; and mechanisms including professional education strategies needed to integrate the content effectively into physical therapy curricula (Bodner et al, 2013; Dean et al, 2015).

Implications / Conclusions

Universal adoption of a lifestyle-behaviour change tool kit and competencies to implement it within the physical therapy profession will ensure physical therapy practitioners and students demonstrate competencies to prevent and reverse as well as manage risk factors and manifestations of lifestyle-related conditions. The profession will have taken a major stride in not only maximising the health of their patients/clients, but directing and setting the example to other health professions about effecting positive lifestyle-behaviour change in their patients/clients.


  1. health promotion practice
  2. minimum standards
  3. integration into practice and education

Funding acknowledgements

Not applicable

Relevance to physical therapy globally

Building on the previous Physical Therapy Summits on Global Health, we describe an evidence-informed lifestyle-behaviour change tool kit for physical therapists. Such a tool kit is not only warranted in contemporary practice, but will provide the basis for threshold standards for physical therapist education. Mechanisms for integrating these standards into physical therapy practice and education will also be discussed as well as modifying programme accreditation guidelines to keep pace with changing global health priorities.

Target audience

Given physical therapists have a universal and primary responsibility for patients’/clients’ health, this focused symposium is relevant to physical therapists across practice settings and educators.


Programme subject to change