Counseling on healthy behaviors should be done selectively

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 16, 2012

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Not all patients benefit from having their physician counsel them repeatedly about adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors, says the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Primary care physicians should selectively counsel patients about healthful eating and exercise, rather than incorporating it into their care for all patients, says the task force recommendation published online June 26 in Annals of Internal Medicine (link).

In deciding whether to counsel a patient, physicians can consider multiple factors, such as a patient’s cardiovascular disease risk, amenability to change, social support, community resources and other health concerns.

The recommendation is based on research that shows small to moderate benefit to repeated behavioral counseling interventions on patients with no diagnosis of hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia or cardiovascular disease. The USPSTF recommends intensive counseling for adults with known risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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