Selective prevention of cardiometabolic diseases: activities and attitudes of general practitioners across Europe

Eur J Public Health. 2019 Feb 1;29(1):88-93. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/cky112.


Background: Cardiometabolic diseases (CMDs) are the number one cause of death. Selective prevention of CMDs by general practitioners (GPs) could help reduce the burden of CMDs. This measure would entail the identification of individuals at high risk of CMDs-but currently asymptomatic-followed by interventions to reduce their risk. No data were available on the attitude and the extent to which European GPs have incorporated selective CMD prevention into daily practice.

Methods: A survey among 575 GPs from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands and Sweden was conducted between September 2016 and January 2017, within the framework of the SPIMEU-project.

Results: On average, 71% of GPs invited their patients to attend for CMD risk assessment. Some used an active approach (47%) while others used an opportunistic approach (53%), but these values differed between countries. Most GPs considered selective CMD prevention as useful (82%) and saw it as part of their normal duties (84%). GPs who did find selective prevention useful were more likely to actively invite individuals compared with their counterparts who did not find prevention useful. Most GPs had a disease management programme for individuals with risk factor(s) for cardiovascular disease (71%) or diabetes (86%).

Conclusions: Although most GPs considered selective CMD prevention as useful, it was not universally implemented. The biggest challenge was the process of inviting individuals for risk assessment. It is important to tailor the implementation of selective CMD prevention in primary care to the national context, involving stakeholders at different levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Czech Republic / epidemiology
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • General Practitioners / psychology*
  • General Practitioners / statistics & numerical data*
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology