To determine the percentage of physicians who reported counseling patients on diet/nutrition, exercise, weight reduction, or smoking cessation during their office visits when responding to the 2002 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS). We sought to establish whether patients are receiving adequate counseling from physicians on the basis of this nationwide survey.
Retrospective database analysis.
Data included 184,668,007 physician visits for patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, or obesity; 140,362,102 physician visits for patients in which insulin/oral antidiabetics, antihyperlipidemia drugs, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, thiazide diuretics, or weight loss drugs were prescribed; and 82,317,640 physician visits for patients who smoked or used tobacco.
Main Outcomes Measures
Frequency of responses for counseling/education/therapy about diet/nutrition, exercise, weight reduction, and tobacco use/exposure.
For patients with type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia, or hypertension, or patients receiving a drug in one of the drug classes that may indicate the presence of these diseases, patients did not receive any type of diet or exercise counseling during more than one half of all visits. Visits by patients who were diagnosed as obese were most likely to receive any type of counseling (80.2%). Of visits for patients who used tobacco, 78.6% did not include any counseling about smoking cessation.
Patients are insufficiently counseled and educated about the need for lifestyle changes that can affect their risks for common chronic diseases. As accessible and ideally positioned health care providers, pharmacists could potentially affect the rising epidemic of obesity and other lifestyle-related diseases by filling this void.