Our medical system is full of patients with lifestyle related disease, and yet for all the brilliance of our modern medications, procedures, and technology, we do a miserable job addressing the elephant in the room: the lifestyles that got us into trouble in the first place. Once clinicians of different backgrounds realize the tremendous health benefits of optimal nutrition it becomes much more difficult to ignore nutrition and solely rely on drugs, procedures, and technology. But integrating nutrition into clinical care is difficult, for a number of reasons. Many clinicians must deal with more urgent acute issues and therefore lack time. Many clinicians are not trained in lifestyle approaches so they lack confidence and perceive that patients will not listen and do not care.1 Further, if they do address lifestyle issues, there may not be any supporting messages or programs for the clinician or the patient during follow up.
These obstacles are real and they can be formidable. How do you overcome them to integrate nutrition and behavior counseling into traditional clinical care? This section of our website is devoted to giving the practicing clinician the tools to overcome these barriers. Not only will there be information on how to more effectively talk to patients but also how to structure followup over time. For those who want to create a practice we will have practice profiles to learn what others have done. In addition, we have a host of course offerings for continuing education credit and resources to give to patients for their own self-education.
Effective interventions that address personal health practices … [for] … primary prevention … hold greater promise for improving overall health than many secondary preventive measures, such as routine screening for early disease. Therefore, clinician counseling that leads to improved personal health practices may be more valuable than conventional clinical activities, such as diagnostic testing.
- Whitlock EP, Orleans CT, Pender N, Allan J. Evaluating primary care behavioral counseling interventions: an evidence-based approach. American journal of preventive medicine 2002; 22:267-84.
- U.S Preventive Services Task Force. Guide to clinical preventive services, 2nd ed. Alexandria, VA: Williams & Wilkins, 1996, as cited in Whitlock EP, Orleans CT, Pender N, Allan J. Evaluating primary care behavioral counseling interventions: an evidence-based approach. American journal of preventive medicine 2002; 22:267-84.