Background: Our objective was to test the effect of physicians providing brief health lifestyle counseling to patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus during usual care visits.
Methods: We conducted a randomized controlled trial of a 12-month intervention at 2 large community health centers, enrolling 310 patients with a body mass index (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) of 25 or greater. In the intervention group, self-management goals for nutrition and physical activity were set using a tailored computer program. Goals were then reviewed at each clinic visit by physicians. The control group received only printed health education materials. The main outcome measures included change in physical activity and body weight.
Results: In the intervention group, recommended levels of physical activity increased from 26% at baseline to 53% at 12 months (P< .001) compared with controls (30% to 37%; P= .27), and 32% of patients in the intervention group lost 6 or more pounds at 12 months compared with 18.9% of controls (odds ratio, 2.2; P= .006).
Conclusion: A brief intervention to increase the dialogue between patients and health care providers about behavioral goals can lead to increased physical activity and weight loss.