Cardiovascular risk factors and motivation for a healthy life-style in a German community--results of the GP-based Oestringen study

Patient Educ Couns. 2004 Oct;55(1):40-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2003.07.002.


This paper explores the motivation of patients towards a healthy life-style in a small community with a special general practice and community-based health education program in order to identify reasons for different motivations and barriers and to improve preventive measures and outcome. The last of six standardised health surveys carried out over 9 years in the five general practices was therefore combined with a questionnaire to explore the attitudes of a sample of patients from these practices (N = 1044) and all attendees of 11 health education courses (N = 153). In addition to the cardiovascular risk factors, data were collected on sociodemographic factors and motivations for health promotion. The results show that, over time, the risk factors of hypertension (P < 0.001) and smoking (P < 0.005) had decreased. Health-promoting activities were not associated with cardiovascular risk factors; the motivations "duty" and "staying young" correlated with gender (P < 0.05). Patients with good health and white collar professions were more active. About 20% specified specific barriers to health-related activities. As expected, the participants of an educational program were more highly motivated by "fun", "fitness" and "meaningfulness". This group was mainly female. Future preventive measures should take into account that motivation for health promotion depends more on psychosocial factors than on risk factors; frequent obstacles should be noticed in the community.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Counseling
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Practice / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Services Accessibility / standards
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Hypertension / prevention & control
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motivation*
  • Needs Assessment
  • Primary Prevention
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires