Key role of general practitioners in health promotion
The primary care professional, – an agent for healthy eating?
Health promotion is most often about making changes in the daily routine, in which eating habits often play a major role. There is a common understanding that a person’s eating habits reflect both societal factors and the individual context.
The family doctor meets people at all stages of life. In the work of diagnosing and treating, the doctor is an interpreter of signs and symptoms on the basis of the patient`s individual context. The doctor is also a teacher and a witness in the course of the patient’s life.
In the continuous relationship between the family doctor and the patient, “golden moments” will occur, when the doctor can give valuable input and be a facilitator for needed change in lifestyle behaviour. To achieve this, trust is a prerequisite. Trust builds on understanding and respect of the patient’s resources and life challenges, and responsiveness to his or her needs.
There is a lot of available information about healthy lifestyle and the public is often well informed about the basic principles. The hard part is to transform knowledge into action. The person-centered approach which is the current working method in family medicine, is the key to help this transformation come true. When the family doctor imparts relevant knowledge about nutrition in addition to the trust of the patient, – change can happen.