Objective: To evaluate the effect of a health dialogue on lifestyle habits, and to relate the lifestyle changes to changes of biological risk markers for ischaemic heart disease.
Design: Cross-sectional study, intervention and follow-up.
Setting: The community of Habo, population 9500, located in Skaraborg, Sweden.
Patients: All 35-year-old inhabitants in Habo were invited to a health examination during a study period between 1989 and 1992. A community intervention programme was combined with a health examination consisting of a health dialogue with a specially trained nurse and use of a "health curve" as an educational tool. The effect of the health examination was examined by comparing baseline characteristics of participants in 1989-1992 with their follow-up data in 1993.
Results: Participants in the health dialogue who were re-examined reported lifestyle improvements including less smoking, decreased dietary fat intake and increased physical activity. Those who reported improved dietary intake and increased physical activity improved their biological risk markers correspondingly (body mass index, waist to hip ratio, serum cholesterol concentration).
Conclusions: The combination of a community and an individually based health programme can be effective with respect to lifestyle variables and, in those improving their lifestyle, in biological risk markers.