Delivering effective nutritional messages without increasing workloads!

General practitioners are on the front line in managing chronic disorders related to lifestyle, such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases. Patients and physicians are aware that nutrition plays a key role in care management. Analyzing a patient’s eating habits, offering appropriate nutritional counseling and evaluating the resulting behavioral modifications take a lot of time. Physicians sometimes feel overwhelmed by the size of the task. Nevertheless, by using appropriate strategies, it is possible for a practitioner to improve a patient’s eating habits and decrease his risk factors. This is precisely what the articles in this new IFAVA issue are all about.

Lauren Ball et al. analyzed data from nine intervention studies evaluating the efficacy of nutritional interventions delivered by general practitioners during their usual consultations. First conclusion: it’s effective. Patients increased their consumption of fruits, vegetables, fish and fibers while reducing their overall caloric intake, as well as meat and fat consumption. In addition, the number of consultations was not a determining factor for nutritional intervention efficacy. Effective nutritional messages can be delivered without increasing workloads!

Sara Bleich et al focused on general practitioners’ personal beliefs concerning obesity and their influence on techniques for managing it. The study surveyed 500 American physicians. Five probable causes of obesity give rise to five different nutritional recommendations. You will discover them in their article. And what are their conclusions? A practitioner’s convictions concerning the nutritional origin of obesity may translate into practical recommendations to patients. In addition, training physicians on the subject of eating factors that contribute to obesity could help them to deliver brief, repetitive messages to their patients.

Finally, Sonia Kim et al. presented strategies that health professionals can use to increase fruit and vegetable intake among younger patients. They can directly orient the children’s food choices by getting them involved in various activities (gardening, cooking, purchasing), by encouraging the creation of social and family environments favorable to healthy food choices and by offering useful advice to the community on how to increase fruits and vegetables availability.

These articles are all sources of encouragement to general practitioners who can, without increasing workloads, deliver brief, repetitive and effective nutritional messages to patients to help them to improve their state of health.

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