A controlled intervention study of changing health-providers' attitudes toward personal lifestyle habits and health-promotion skills Academic Article uri icon


  • Objective Data regarding health providers' personal lifestyle and the differential effect of a short-term personal lifestyle experience intervention program on health providers are limited. Methods We conducted a controlled study aimed at changing personal attitudes toward lifestyle habits among 323 health professionals: 136 (42%) physicians, 140 (43%) dietitians, and 47 (15%) nurses and health promoters. In the intervention group (n = 209) individuals participated in a 2-d intensive self-experience workshop in an isolated location emphasizing healthy lifestyle and behavior-modifying techniques. Intervention and control groups were followed for 6 mo. Results At baseline, avoidance of salt, trans-fatty acids, saturated fats, and processed meat was more frequent among dietitians (P < 0.05 versus physicians). The physicians reported a lower intake of olive/canola oil, nuts/almonds, dietary fibers, vegetables, and fruits (P < 0.05). Furthermore, physicians reported lower confidence in lifestyle primary prevention and felt less useful engaging in health-promotion activities (P < 0.05 versus other health professionals). After 6 mo, waist circumference decreased in the intervention group (−1.3 versus +1.8 cm in control group, P < 0.01). The effect was more prominent among physicians. A modest differential effect of the intervention program was shown in health-promotion activities. Conclusion Approaches toward primary prevention can be improved by an intervention program focusing on personal changes of health care providers. Physicians who are less likely to personally adhere to and believe in lifestyle primary prevention are more likely to benefit from this platform.

publication date

  • January 1, 2009