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Should GPs bother asking patients about lifestyle factors?

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I was talking with GP registrar extraodinaire, Dr. Gerry Considine recently about how I felt that some of our attempts at preventive health in consultations can seem quite ineffectual for patients – like we are just going through the motions.  A few examples included the discussions we have with patients about smoking cessation, good nutrition, safe alcohol intake and regular physical activity.  For instance, it is frustrating when people report that they ‘exercise’ regularly at work, getting up and down in their office to go to the photocopier and back.  “That doesn’t count!” he exclaimed, and I agree!

Sometimes it can feel like you are bashing your head against a brick wall when talking to patients about these simple lifestyle measures, which are so important for a person’s general health, and yet fall by the wayside for so many of us.  It…

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