Discussing Healthy Habits

Doctors holding conversations with patients about healthy habits could be the key to reversing some unhealthy trends in the U.S., but they focus on certain habits more than others.

Doctors holding conversations with patients about healthy habits could be the key to reversing some unhealthy trends in the U.S., according to Gallup.

As health care focuses on the benefits of preventive care and health lifestyles, Americans report that their doctors are discussing certain health habits more than others. While 71% of respondents say their doctor has talked to them about engaging in regular physical exercise, just half have had conversations with their physician about not smoking.

However, the percent of respondents whose doctors discussed not smoking jumps to 79% among only those who are already smokers, according to the Gallup poll.

Considering how overburdened physicians can be, it makes sense that they don’t focus efforts on nonsmokers, but Gallup points out that there are plenty of benefits to speaking with these patients as well.

“…increasing the frequency of these discussions with nonsmokers could prevent more nonsmokers from ever starting and more former smokers from returning to old habits.”

Gallup points out that physicians are more likely to discuss the positive behaviors related to maintaining a healthy weight than not smoking. Possibly, this is because the obesity rate in the U.S. continues to tick up.

The poll results also showed that while doctors target discussions about smoking toward current smokers, they are only slightly more likely to discuss exercise and diet with Americans who view themselves as being overweight.

“U.S. physicians are in a unique position to influence their patients to make positive changes that will reduce the cost of smoking and obesity for individuals, employers, and the overall U.S. economy,” Gallup reported.