Lifestyle risk factors in general practice: Routine assessment and management

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Australian Family Physician, 2010, 39 (12), pp. 950 - 953
Issue Date:
2010-12-01
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Background: Evidence based guidelines recommend that adults be assessed for modifiable lifestyle risk factors: smoking, nutrition, alcohol and physical activity (SNAP) regularly. This article discusses the routine practices of GPs regarding assessment and management of these risk factors. Method: General practitioners participating in two randomised controlled trials completed questionnaires about their assessment and management of SNAP risk factors. Results: Over half of the GPs usually assessed smoking and alcohol, and assessed a patient's readiness to change before offering advice. Diet and activity were assessed less frequently, with only 22% usually assessing diet and 28% usually assessing activity. Referral rates were low, with less than 10% of GPs reporting that they usually referred patients to programs. Less than 20% of GPs reported having difficulty referring to programs. Discussion: Chronic disease risk factors are common in the Australian population, and GPs are ideally placed to offer assessment, advice and referral to services and programs. Recent changes to Medicare rebates for prevention activity may encourage a greater focus on prevention.
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