Objective: To assess the impact of health education on diet, smoking, and physical activity among patients visiting the primary health care centers (PHCCs) in Al-Qassim province, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
Methods: We conducted an uncontrolled experimental study from January to October 2009 to evaluate the impact of health education on smoking, diet, and physical activity among attendees of PHCCs in Al-Qassim province, KSA. We trained the PHCC staff in health education skills and introduced health education seminars organized by the medical students. Baseline (n=1,254) and follow-up (n=1,011) sample surveys were conducted to measure the prevalence of risk factors in target population before and after intervention. We used logistic regression analysis to control for the effects of possible confounding variables.
Results: After the intervention, consumption of kabsa, bakery items, and dates decreased, and that of fish and fresh vegetables increased (p < 0.001). Compared to the baseline, male respondents in the follow-up survey were less likely to smoke and more likely to do regular exercise. These improvements persisted after controlling for gender, age, marital status, education, and presence, or family history of hypertension and/or diabetes.
Conclusion: We conclude that enhancing the quality and scope of health education to patients visiting the PHCCs would improve the awareness and practice of healthy behaviors.