The aim of the study was to assess whether general practitioners (GPs) monitor and evaluate the health behavior of their patients in the field of a diet, physical activity, and weight control, and whether they provide appropriate counselling as part of this evaluation. Predictors of those activities among physicians were also determined. The cross-sectional study was conducted in the Piotrkowski district among 200 GPs. The questionnaire covered socio-demographic data and lifestyle characteristics of the physicians, their role as healthy lifestyle providers, and whether they assess lifestyle characteristics of their patients and perform healthy lifestyle counselling. More than 60% of the GPs did not evaluate lifestyle features during their patients' examination. In total, 56% of the GPs provided healthy lifestyle recommendations among patients who have not been diagnosed with chronic lifestyle-related diseases but who do not follow healthy recommendations, and 73% of GPs provided recommendations to patients with chronic diseases related to lifestyle. The study showed that the chance to assess lifestyle characteristics of the patients was significantly higher for the GPs who believed that they were obliged to do so (OR = 6.5; p = 0.002). The chance to recommend a healthy lifestyle among patients who have not been diagnosed with chronic lifestyle-related diseases but who do not follow healthy recommendations was 5.9 times higher among the GPs working in the public sector (p < 0.001) and 16.3 times higher for these who believed that they had sufficient knowledge to provide the advice (p = 0.02). The following predictors of providing a healthy lifestyle counselling among patients with diagnosed chronic lifestyle-related diseases were identified: conviction that a GPs is obligated to provide it (OR = 4.4; p = 0.02), sufficient knowledge (OR = 8.7; p = 0.01), and following health recommendations by themselves (OR = 3.9; p = 0.04). Conclusions: The identified predictors are crucial for the development of appropriate strategies aiming at increasing GPs' involvement in preventive measures and consequently at improving the population's health.
Keywords: chronic diseases; general practitioner; health behaviors; health education; healthy lifestyle; primary care.