Background: Healthy lifestyles are an important facet of cardiovascular risk management. Unfortunately many individuals fail to engage with lifestyle change programmes. There are many factors that patients report as influencing their decisions about initiating lifestyle change. This is challenging for health care professionals who may lack the skills and time to address a broad range of barriers to lifestyle behaviour. Guidance on which factors to focus on during lifestyle consultations may assist healthcare professionals to hone their skills and knowledge leading to more productive patient interactions with ultimately better uptake of lifestyle behaviour change support. The aim of our study was to clarify which influences reported by patients predict uptake and completion of formal lifestyle change programmes.
Methods: A systematic narrative review of quantitative observational studies reporting factors (influences) associated with uptake and completion of lifestyle behaviour change programmes. Quantitative observational studies involving patients at high risk of cardiovascular events were identified through electronic searching and screened against pre-defined selection criteria. Factors were extracted and organised into an existing qualitative framework.
Results: 374 factors were extracted from 32 studies. Factors most consistently associated with uptake of lifestyle change related to support from family and friends, transport and other costs, and beliefs about the causes of illness and lifestyle change. Depression and anxiety also appear to influence uptake as well as completion. Many factors show inconsistent patterns with respect to uptake and completion of lifestyle change programmes.
Conclusion: There are a small number of factors that consistently appear to influence uptake and completion of cardiovascular lifestyle behaviour change. These factors could be considered during patient consultations to promote a tailored approach to decision making about the most suitable type and level lifestyle behaviour change support.