Patient-reported GP health assessments rather than individual cardiovascular risk burden are associated with the engagement in lifestyle changes: Population-based survey in South Australia
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© 2019 The Author(s). Background: Little is known about whether a more comprehensive health assessment, performed by a general practitioner (GP) during a clinical encounter, could influence patients' lifestyle. We aimed to investigate whether health assessments, performed by GPs, are more important than the presence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) or cardiometabolic risk factors (obesity, diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidaemia) for engagement in lifestyle change. Methods: Cross-sectional, population-based survey conducted in South Australia (September-December 2017) using face-To-face interviews and self-reported data of 2977 individuals aged 15+ years. The main outcome was engagement in four lifestyle changes: 1) increasing fruit/vegetable intake, 2) increasing physical activity level, 3) reducing alcohol consumption, and 4) attempts to stop smoking. Health assessments performed by a GP in the last 12 months included clinical/laboratory investigations (weight/waist circumference, blood pressure, glucose levels, lipid levels) and questions about lifestyle/wellbeing (current diet, physical activity, smoking status, alcohol intake, mental health, sleeping problems). Results were restricted to individuals aged 35+ years because of the low prevalence of CVD or their risk factors among younger participants. Logistic regression was used in all associations, adjusted for sociodemographic, lifestyle, mental health, and clinical variables. Results: Of the 2384 investigated adults (mean age 57.3 ± 13.9 years; 51.9% females), 10.2% had CVD and 49.1% at least one cardiometabolic risk factor. Clinical/laboratory assessments performed by the GP were 2-3 times more frequent than assessments of lifestyle, mental health status, or sleeping problems, especially among those with CVD. Individuals with CVD or a cardiometabolic risk factor were no more likely to be increasing their fruit/vegetable consumption (33.6%), physical activity level (40.9%), reducing alcohol consumption (31.1%), or trying to quit smoking (34.0%) than 'healthy' participants. However, lifestyle changes were between 30 and 100% more likely when GPs performed three or more health assessments (either clinical/laboratory or questions about lifestyle/wellbeing) than when individuals did not visit the GP or when GPs performed no any assessment during these clinical encounters (p < 0.05 in all cases). Conclusion: More frequent and comprehensive CVD-related assessments by GPs were more important in promoting a healthier lifestyle than the presence of CVD or cardiometabolic risk factors by themselves.
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