Background As part of formative work to inform an interventional design to increase physical activity (PA) in patients with type 2 diabetes in Oman, this qualitative study aimed to determine health professionals’ perception of barriers and opportunities, personnel responsibilities and plausible PA promotional approaches. Methods Four focus group discussions were carried out with groups of health care professionals (family physicians, dieticians and health educators, managers and general practitioners). All discussions were audio recorded and transcribed. Responses were analysed using a thematic analysis. Results Barriers to PA reported by participants (n = 29) were identified at three levels: health care system (e.g. deficient PA guidelines); individual (e.g. obstructive social norms) and community (e.g. lack of facilities). Participants felt that a multilevel approach is needed to address perceived barriers and to widen current opportunities. In the presence of various diabetes primary care providers, the potential for dieticians to include individualised PA consultations as part of their role was highlighted. Participants felt that consultations should be augmented by approaches within the community (volunteer support and/or appropriate facilities). However, despite lack of experience with technology supported approaches and motivational tools, the telephone application “WhatsApp” and use of pedometers were considered potentially suitable. The need for training in behaviour change techniques and clearly communicated intervention guidelines was emphasised. Conclusions A multi-component approach including PA consultations, possibly led by trained dieticians, technological routes for providing support along with community mapping for resources appear to offer promising approaches for further PA intervention studies within diabetes primary health care.
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