Too rarely do doctors give their patients advice about healthy lifestyle changes. A statistical analysis of US health data conducted by MedUni Vienna researchers together with international partners has shown that people suffering from obesity, diabetes and other high-risk conditions are much too rarely encouraged to eat more healthily and to take more exercise. In terms of prevention, much more emphasis should be placed on this.
The statistical analysis conducted by the research group led by Igor Grabovac from MedUni Vienna’s Department of Social and Preventive Medicine (Center for Public Health) showed that doctor’s consultations rarely include preventive advice for healthy/normal-weight patients (9.8% received advice about physical exercise and 1% about nutrition and physical exercise). And even those in high-risk groups, such as people with obesity, diabetes or hypertension, much too rarely receive medical advice about adopting a healthier lifestyle. For example, only 56% of patients with a combination of obesity and diabetes report receiving encouragement from their doctor to modify their lifestyle.
People who are healthy but already overweight or even obese must act quickly to prevent the onset of conditions such as hypertension, diabetes or cardiovascular diseases. This can only be done by making lifestyle changes. However, only 20% of this group report receiving relevant advice from their doctor.