The impact of lifestyle medicine continuing education on provider knowledge, attitudes, and counseling behaviors

Med Teach. 2013 May;35(5):e1149-56. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2012.733459. Epub 2012 Nov 8.


Background: There is a need for effective continuing medical education (CME) programs to increase healthcare providers' knowledge and skills in lifestyle medicine so that healthcare providers are better equipped to assist patients in adopting and maintaining healthier lifestyle behaviors.

Aims: To evaluate the impact of five live face-to-face CME programs in lifestyle medicine on providers' barriers, knowledge, confidence, and professional counseling behaviors.

Methods: 200 participants completed researcher-generated surveys before and 90 days after each CME program. Paired t-tests measured significant changes for all outcome variables, and regression analyses assessed predictors of these changes.

Results: Barriers that were targeted during the programs, i.e. lack of knowledge/skills, lack of materials, and perceived poor patient compliance showed highly significant improvement. Participants also reported significant changes in knowledge, confidence, and counseling behaviors in the areas of exercise and stress management. Some improvements occurred in areas that the CME programs did not target as much, i.e. nutrition, smoking, and weight management. The greatest predictor of change was the baseline level of scores. Those participants who could most benefit from change did show the largest improvements.

Conclusions: Live CME programs can be effective in educating healthcare providers about topics within the rapidly expanding field of lifestyle medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Counseling / organization & administration*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / organization & administration*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*