Are general practitioners doing enough to promote healthy lifestyle? Findings of the Medical Research Council's general practice research framework study on lifestyle and health

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1987 Apr 11;294(6577):940-2. doi: 10.1136/bmj.294.6577.940.


The health survey questionnaire was used to collect information about cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, physical exercise, and dieting and weight. Completed questionnaires were received from 25,496 men and 36,657 women registered with 47 group practices in England and Scotland. The proportions of respondents who stated that they had a problem ranged from 1% (women and drinking, n = 406) to 34% (women and weight, n = 12,526). Between 49% (women and drinking, n = 18,048) and 67% (men (n = 17,095) and women (n = 24,550) and weight) thought that their general practitioners should be interested in their lifestyle. The proportions who could recall having received relevant advice ranged from 2% (women and drinking, n = 591) to 24% (women and weight, n = 8946). Advice about smoking had been given to 4055 (40%) of the women and 2941 (39%) of the men who smoked. Only 96 (10%) of the 989 women and 331 (17%) of the 1948 men who drank excessively could recall having received advice about alcohol consumption. These results suggest that patients are concerned about their lifestyle, that most would welcome relevant counselling, and that doctors should become more concerned with prevention of this kind.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Attitude to Health
  • Body Weight
  • Family Practice*
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Smoking