Doctors Should Also Advise Healthy People on Diet, Exercise

USPSTF urges doctors to talk to low-risk, in addition to high-risk, adults about lifestyle

doctor and patient

WEDNESDAY, July 12, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Lifestyle counseling could help protect the long-term heart health of adults who aren't yet at high risk for heart attack and stroke, according to a final recommendation statement from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) published in the July 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The USPSTF on Tuesday reaffirmed its 2012 recommendation that doctors consider extra counseling on diet and exercise even among their low-risk patients. "The Task Force encourages primary care clinicians to talk to their patients about eating healthy and physical activity," Task Force vice chair Susan Curry, Ph.D., said in a USPSTF news release. "And if they are interested and motivated to make lifestyle changes, offer and refer them to counseling."

The USPSTF already advised doctors to offer their high-risk patients intensive behavioral counseling to help prevent cardiovascular disease. This type of counseling involves more than a single conversation during a doctor's visit. In many cases, patients attend multiple counseling sessions with another health care professional. In its final recommendation published July 11, the panel concluded that primary care doctors should also consider offering healthy lifestyle behavioral counseling to patients who are at moderate or low risk for heart disease, including those who exercise and have a generally healthy diet.

"This recommendation complements separate Task Force recommendations for people at increased risk, which recommend behavioral counseling for all high-risk patients," Task Force member Carol Mangione, M.D., said in the news release.

Evidence Report
Recommendation Statement

Physician's Briefing