Nutrition and physical activity counseling practices of family practice residents

J Cancer Educ. 2002 Fall;17(3):128-37. doi: 10.1080/08858190209528820.


Background: Nutritional behaviors and physical activity can influence risk for the development and prognosis of cancer. This study reports findings of a literature review and a survey of nutrition and physical activity counseling practices of family practice (FP) residents.

Methods: 110 FP residents (response rate = 93.2%) from four clinics that received funding from the Texas Department of Health completed the survey. Hierarchical linear regression models were used to identify determinants of nutrition and physical activity counseling practices.

Results: About a fifth of the residents reported that they usually or always asked their patients about nutrition and physical activity. In general, residents were most likely to address these issues with asymptomatic obese adult patients. Perceived effectiveness was a significant predictor of both assessment and counseling, except for nutrition counseling for asymptomatic patients. Attitude toward behavioral counseling predicted assessment, but not counseling. Use of resources predicted counseling on both topics with all patients.

Conclusion: FP residents assess and counsel about nutrition and physical activity at suboptimal rates. There is a need to convince residents of the value of such assessment and counseling and to increase their belief that patients will follow through on their recommendations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Competence
  • Counseling / education*
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Internship and Residency
  • Life Style*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Nutritional Sciences / education*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Texas