Background. In recent years, we have investigated both patients' and family doctors' communicative characteristics towards nutrition communication in general practice with several qualitative and quantitative studies. A sound comparison of the survey results between both conversation partners has not been made before. Objective. The aim of the present study was to put together data obtained by earlier studies for the first time in order to make comparisons of patients' and family doctors' communicative characteristics regarding nutrition communication. Methods. In The Netherlands, 603 patients completed a face-to-face interview-assisted questionnaire (65% response rate) and 267 family doctors completed a questionnaire (45% response rate). Results. When comparing communicative characteristics, patients stronger believed that nutrition was an influence on health than family doctors. They also attributed a greater role to personal hygiene, stress and heredity, while family doctors were more convinced of the role of alcohol use and smoking on health. Patients more often rated their own nutrition knowledge as good than family doctors. In contrast, family doctors showed higher interest in nutrition and nutrition information than patients. As a result, a collinear model for family doctors and nutrition communication towards patients was provided. Conclusions. Significant differences between patients and family doctors were found for several communicative characteristics towards nutrition communication. It is important that family doctors become convinced that patients perceive them as a reliable and expert source of nutrition information. It is recommended that family doctors raise nutrition awareness among patients. Finally, we advise family doctors to pay attention to nutrition communication styles.
- primary-care physicians