Care Sport Connectors (CSCs) have been appointed to create a connection between primary care and physical activity (PA) sectors to stimulate inactive residents into becoming physically active. Adequate recruitment strategies are necessary to reach the intended target group in order to foster the sustainability of lifestyle interventions. The objective of this study is to explore PA behavior and health characteristics of the target group reached by CSCs and if these characteristics differ between participants when grouped based on how they were recruited. Participants from lifestyle interventions were included between September 2014 and April 2016 using a purposive sampling method. Participants were recruited through CSCs via public relations (n = 135), a personal letter (n = 136), or a referral (n = 98) and compared based on their PA level, health-related quality of life, motivation, self-efficacy, morbidity and health-related fitness. Scores were analyzed with a multi-level (mixed model) analysis measured before the intervention. The three groups were different in PA level (p = 0.002). The outcomes regarding health-related quality of life, motivation, and number of somatic disorders were also significantly different for the three groups, except for the categories of mental health (p = 0.145) and self-efficacy (p = 0.464). For all dimensions, the referral group scored the least favorable. The investment in time and money for an active recruitment strategy like referrals is worthwhile because it provides CSCs the opportunity to reach people who are inactive and at risk of chronic disease. Future studies are necessary to reveal the effect on PA levels and health in the long-term.

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