Objective: To determine whether General Practitioners (GPs) consider or provide nutrition counselling for hypertension, diabetes, lipid disorders, ischaemic heart disease (IHD), overweight or obesity, and whether GPs include assessment of the patient's usual diet, assessment of the patient's readiness to change their diet, provision and discussion of nutrition leaflets when counselling. Design: A self-completed questionnaire. Setting: New South Wales, Australia. Subjects: A total of 399 GPs were surveyed using a division mailing list. Methods: Questionnaires were distributed in May 2004 with two reminders provided at four-weekly intervals. Results: Of the 399 GPs, 28 no longer practiced at the address while nine were on extended leave. Of the remaining 362, 50% responded, 5% declining to participate, while 163 (45%) completed the questionnaire. GPs were less likely to strongly agree to consider nutrition for hypertension (37%), IHD (61%) and overweight (68%), than diabetes (86%), lipid disorders (82%) and obesity (83%). They were also less likely to strongly agree to provide nutrition for hypertension (22%), IHD (46%) and overweight (45%), than diabetes (79%), lipid disorders (71%) and obesity (68%). In total, 97% of GPs provided some nutrition counselling, with 66% 'often' assessing the patients diet and 59% 'often' assessing the patient's readiness to change their diet. In total, 45% were unaware of stage of change behaviour theory. A total of 85% used nutrition leaflets and 59% 'often' discussed these with their patients. Conclusions: Determining what are the barriers to nutrition counselling for hypertension, IHD and overweight is, urgently needed. Educating GPs on stage of change behaviour theory could increase the efficacy of the counselling provided.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition Vol. 59, no. Supplement 1, p. S140-S145