Nutrition and physical activity communication patterns of general practitioners

S.M.E. van Dillen, G.J. Hiddink, C.M.J. van Woerkum

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Introduction: Promotion of healthy diet and adequate physical activity is important to tackle the overweight epidemic among the Dutch population. General practitioners (GPs) are uniquely placed to communicate with their patients about nutrition and physical activity. However, it is not clear what they actually do in their busy practice. The aim of this study is to explore the similarities and differences in patterns between nutrition and physical activity communication of GPs. Methods: A mail questionnaire was developed in 1992 and sent to a nationwide sample of 1000 Dutch GPs with 5-15 years of practice experience. All 488 eligible participants from 1992 were asked to participate again fifteen years later. In total, 255 GPs participated with 20-30 years of practice experience. Response rate appeared to be 52%. Additionally, a new cohort was approached to fill in the questionnaire: 217 GPs participated with 5-20 years of practice experience. The questionnaire included questions about nutrition and physical activity communication and its determinants, such as perceived barriers, task perceptions and self-efficacy expectations. Results: From GPs who reported to provide nutrition communication to almost all patients with relevant illnesses (like overweight), 80% also provided physical activity communication. Acceptable associations were found between nutrition and physical activity communication (correlation coefficients at least 0.36). GPs perceived significantly less barriers for physical activity communication than for nutrition communication. They also had more positive task perceptions regarding physical activity communication. Self-efficacy expectations for physical activity communication were at least the same as for nutrition communication. Discussion: GPs showed shared patterns for nutrition and physical activity communication. They were more eager to discuss physical activity than nutrition. Self-efficacy appeared to be the most important determinant for their communication behaviours. We advise to raise self-efficacy in (continuing) medical education. We also strongly recommend GPs to combine nutrition and physical activity communication.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventEACH International Conference, St. Andrews, Scotland -
Duration: 4 Sep 20127 Sep 2012

Conference

ConferenceEACH International Conference, St. Andrews, Scotland
Period4/09/127/09/12

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