Doctors’ advice improve patients’ eating behaviour

The European definition of general medicine includes the promotion of health and prevention against diseases1. Among others, a general practitioner’s mission is nutritional education. He plays a key role in prevention policies and health education which were inscribed in the medical convention of February 20052.

Many international and European surveys show the interest in nutritional advice provided by physicians and intended to modify eating habits, consume more fruit and vegetables, reduce BMI (Body Mass Index) and improve cardiovascular and obesity risk factors3-10.

A European meta-analysis has recently shown an increased consumption of fruit and vegetables (up to 59.3%) following advice given by healthcare professionals11.

General practitioners can provide nutritional advice that has the potential to improve eating behaviour and decrease risks for people with lifestyle-related chronic diseases12.

In the USA, advice provided by a doctor is a powerful indicator of a patient’s behavioural change. “The Healthy People” programme showed the prevalence of nutritional advice given by doctors increase between 2000 and 201113.

Doctors can also have a direct influence on children’s food choices by advising them to get involved in a number of activities (gardening, cooking, shopping, etc.) and encouraging a social and familial environment in which they may develop healthy eating choices.


  1. « European definition_F.doc – Definition_Europeenne_de_la_Medecine_Generale_Wonca_Europe_2002.pdf »
  2. « Arrêté du 3 février 2005 portant approbation de la convention nationale des médecins généralistes et des médecins spécialistes | Legifrance »
  3. Tchouangang, G 2009  Marquise. s. d. « L’éducation diététique en médecine générale: une revue de la littérature ». Thèse d’exercice, Lyon, France: Université Claude Bernard.
  4. Sacerdote, et coll 2006. « Randomized controlled trial: effect of nutritional counselling in general practice ». International Journal of Epidemiology 35
  5. Jesus, JM.D, et coll 2016. « Nutrition Interventions for Cardiovascular Disease ». Medical Clinics of North America, Practice-Based Nutrition Care, 100
  6. Sturgiss, Elizabeth Ann, et Kirsty Douglas. 2016. « A Collaborative Process for Developing a Weight Management Toolkit for General Practitioners in Australia-an Intervention Development Study Using the Knowledge To Action Framework ». Pilot and Feasibility Studies 2
  7. Aveyard, Paul, et coll. 2016. « Screening and Brief Intervention for Obesity in Primary Care: A Parallel, Two-Arm, Randomised Trial ». The Lancet 388 (10059)
  8. Kim, SA., Kirsten, et coll 2011. « Strategies for Pediatric Practitioners to Increase Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in Children ». Pediatric Clinics of North America, Update in Childhood and Adolescent Obesity, 58
  9. Wynn, K , et coll. 2010. « Nutrition in Primary Care: Current Practices, Attitudes, and Barriers ». Canadian Family Physician Medecin De Famille Canadien 56
  10. Spencer, E, et coll 2006. « Predictors of Nutrition Counseling Behaviors and Attitudes in US Medical Students ». The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 84
  11. Maderuelo FJA 2015,. « Effectiveness of Interventions Applicable to Primary Health Care Settings to Promote Mediterranean Diet or Healthy Eating Adherence in Adults: A Systematic Review ». Preventive Medicine 76 Suppl (juillet)
  12. Ball L,  et coll 2013. « General Practitioners Can Offer Effective Nutrition Care to Patients with Lifestyle-Related Chronic Disease ». Journal of Primary Health Care 5
  13. Ahmed, NU., et coll 2016. « Trends and Disparities in the Prevalence of Physicians’ Counseling on Diet and Nutrition among the U.S. Adult Population, 2000-2011 ». Preventive Medicine 89