The impact of behavioral counseling on stage of change in fat intake, physical activity, and cigarette smoking in adults at increased risk of coronary heart disease

Am J Public Health. 2001 Feb;91(2):265-9. doi: 10.2105/ajph.91.2.265.


Objectives: This study assessed stages of change in fat intake, physical activity, and cigarette smoking during a randomized controlled trial of behavioral counseling.

Methods: Twenty general practices (primary health care centers) were randomized to lifestyle counseling by behavioral methods or to usual health promotion. A total of 883 patients were selected for the presence of 1 or more of the following risk factors: cigarette smoking, high cholesterol, or a combination of a high body mass index and low physical activity. Stage of change (precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, and action/maintenance) was assessed at baseline and after 4 and 12 months.

Results: The odds of moving to action/maintenance for behavioral intervention vs control patients at 4 months were 2.15 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.30, 3.56) for fat reduction, 1.89 (95% CI = 1.07, 3.36) for increased physical activity, and 1.77 (95% CI = 0.76, 4.14) for smoking cessation. The likelihood of achieving action/maintenance was related to baseline stage for all 3 behaviors.

Conclusions: Brief behavioral counseling based on advice matched to stage of readiness for change may be valuable in encouraging healthy lifestyles among patients in primary care at raised risk of cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Coronary Disease / etiology*
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects*
  • Exercise* / psychology
  • Feeding Behavior* / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / complications
  • Hypercholesterolemia / prevention & control
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Odds Ratio
  • Program Evaluation
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Prevention*


  • Dietary Fats