General practitioners can offer effective nutrition care to patients with lifestyle-related chronic disease

J Prim Health Care. 2013 Mar 1;5(1):59-69.


Introduction: Nutrition is a key priority for the management of lifestyle-related chronic disease, and the demand on general practitioners (GPs) to provide nutrition care is increasing.

Aim: The aim of this systematic review was to investigate the effectiveness of nutrition care provided by GPs in improving the nutrition-related behaviour and subsequent health outcomes of individuals with lifestyle-related chronic disease.

Methods: A systematic literature review was conducted using the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE and ISI Web of Knowledge databases. Randomised controlled trials that investigated a nutrition care intervention feasible within general practice consultations, and that utilised outcome measures relevant to nutritionrelated behaviour or indicators of health, were included in the review.

Results: Of the 131 articles screened for inclusion, nine studies, totalling 9564 participants, were included in the review. Five interventions observed improvements in the nutrition behaviour of participants, such as a reduction of energy consumption, reduction of meat consumption, increase in fruit and vegetable intake, increase in fish intake and increase in fibre intake. Seven interventions observed improvements in risk factors, including in weight, serum lipid levels and blood pressure. Some inconsistencies in findings were observed in the reviewed studies.

Discussion: This systematic review demonstrates that GPs have the potential to provide nutrition care that improves the nutrition behaviour and risk factors in individuals with lifestyle-related chronic disease. However, the consistency and clinical significance of the intervention outcomes are unclear. Further investigation regarding the development of nutrition care protocols and the attributes of nutrition care that result in improved outcomes are required.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease / therapy*
  • Diet / standards*
  • Diet / trends
  • General Practitioners*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Nutritional Sciences / education*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Patient Education as Topic / standards
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Risk Reduction Behavior