OBJECTIVE: To analyze, in people with intermittent claudication, the frequency of individuals who are in each of stages of health behavior change to practice physical activity, and analyze the association of these stages with the walking capacity.
METHODS: We recruited 150 patients with intermittent claudication treated at a tertiary center, being included those > 30-year-old-individuals and who had ankle-arm index < 0.90. We obtained socio-demographic information, presence of comorbidities and cardiovascular risk factors and stages of health behavior change to practice physical activity through a questionnaire, they being pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance. Moreover, the walking capacity was measured in a treadmill test (Gardner protocol).
RESULTS: Most individuals were in the maintenance stage (42.7%), however, when the stages of health behavior change were categorized into active (action and maintenance) and inactive (pre-contemplation, contemplation and preparation), 51.3% of the individuals were classified as inactive behavior. There was no association between stages of health behavior change, sociodemographic factors and cardiovascular risk factors. However, patients with intermittent claudication who had lower total walking distance were three times more likely to have inactive behavior.
CONCLUSION: Most patients with intermittent claudication showed an inactive behavior and, in this population, lower walking capacity was associated with this behavior.