The practices of general and subspecialty internists in counseling about smoking and exercise

Am J Public Health. 1986 Aug;76(8):1009-13. doi: 10.2105/ajph.76.8.1009.


We compared the practices of subspecialists and general internists in counseling about smoking and exercise, using data from a study of recent graduates of United States training programs in internal medicine. Information on the characteristics of physicians and their clinical practices was obtained from self-report questionnaires. The internists most likely to counsel smokers regardless of the presence or absence of diseases associated with smoking are cardiologists, pulmonary specialists, nephrologists, and generalists trained in a primary care residency funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation or Health Resources Administration. Most internists practice tertiary prevention by counseling a high percentage of smokers with heart or lung disease. Rheumatologists counsel a higher percentage of all patients with poor exercise habits but a lower percentage of such patients with heart disease than do other internists. The differences in counseling related to training are not explained by different levels of involvement as a primary care physician. Rather, these differences appear to reflect training and subspecialty-specific priorities for counseling.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Counseling*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine
  • Male
  • Medicine
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Physician's Role
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Specialization
  • Surveys and Questionnaires