Identification of nutrition communication styles and strategies: a qualitative study among Dutch GP's

S.M.E. van Dillen, G.J. Hiddink, M.A. Koelen, C. de Graaf, C.M.J. van Woerkum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this study were to identify nutrition communication styles of Dutch GPs, their strategies regarding nutrition communication and nutrition information seeking behaviours. Another aim is to provide a hypothetical model for nutrition communication style, including psycho-social and socio-demographic variables. METHODS: Nine focus groups with 81 GPs were used to obtain GPs' perceptions of nutrition communication. Data were analysed with the computer software program NUD*IST. RESULTS: Five nutrition communication styles were identified, namely informational, reference, motivational, confrontational and holistic style. Referring to a dietician, providing advice according to Dietary Guidelines, and offering written education materials were mentioned as strategies regarding nutrition communication. GPs sought nutrition information in scientific studies, specialist literature, and postgraduate training courses. CONCLUSION: The informational style of nutrition communication was dominant among Dutch GPs. GPs hardly provided maintenance advice for nutrition behaviour. Many GPs referred patients to dieticians, who were viewed as colleagues. GPs tried to get basic information about nutrition by scanning the literature, but they were seldom actively involved in seeking specific nutrition information. Although GPs felt that patients expect expert nutrition information, they perceived their nutrition knowledge as restricted. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: We advise to raise self-efficacy of GPs regarding nutrition communication and to build good collaboration with dieticians.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-83
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • primary-care physicians
  • patient communication
  • general-practice
  • practitioner
  • consumer
  • behavior
  • advice
  • needs
  • model

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