Doctors' advice to overweight patients concerning healthy lifestyles
AbstractBackground: The physician has an important role that involves informing patients about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Objective: The aim was to estimate the proportion of patients who received advice about exercise and/or eating habits in primary health care (PHC) and hospital health care (HHC) in 1991 and 1995. A further aim was to explore the patient characteristics in the group that was given advice. Design: Subjects were 4890 respondents to a mail-distributed questionnaire who had paid at least one visit to a doctor in PHC or HHC within the last 12 months. Results: In PHC about 20% of the overweight patients received advice in 1991 and 1995, while in HHC the percentage receiving advice increased from 19% to 28%. Patients background characteristics could not explain this difference in trends. Male patients received more advice in both PHC and HHC, and this could not be explained by factors such as education, health or lifestyle factors, e.g. exercise and smoking. Conclusion: The results suggest that there is room for more doctors’ advice about eating habits and exercise, especially for female patients and patients in primary health care. Keywords: Doctors' advice, health promotion, lifestyles, overweight.
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