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Diet and lifestyle education in a family practice clinic can benefit wellbeing

A photo of a health professional talking to a patient

A UBCO study explores how primary care physicians and allied health professionals can help people make dietary and lifestyle changes to improve their health to prevent chronic illnesses.

A staggering 70 per cent of Canadians report an unhealthy diet--a risk factor which is often closely associated with the development of chronic disease.

Low-carbohydrate high-fat (LCHF) diets have shown to improve weight loss and cardiovascular health.  But for many people, it's not often clear when or how to implement such a change.

A new UBC Okanagan study explores how primary care physicians and allied health professionals can help patients adopt dietary and lifestyle interventions to improve their overall health.

"LCHF diets restrict the body's glucose to create a metabolic state called ketosis that focuses a body's metabolism on fats as opposed to carbohydrates," says Southern Medical Program student Alex Myshak-Davis and study lead author.

In a family practice setting, study participants chose from four different intake options of carbohydrates, proteins and fats to select a ratio that best matched their personal health goals.

"Hypertension is the most common chronic disease, followed by Type 2 diabetes, obesity, osteoarthritis and chronic kidney disease amongst the study group," says Dr. Janet Evans, a Kelowna-based family physician and affiliate clinician with the Centre for Chronic Disease and Management (CCDPM) based at UBC Okanagan.

Patients participated in educational sessions led by a registered nurse on a one-on-one basis or a small group. Follow-up support included a combination of in-person or telephone consultations and small group sessions. These were about 20 minutes long and included a review of progress, successes, struggles and strategies to help patients reach their goals.

"Participants who followed an LCHF diet experienced weight loss and a body mass index (BMI) reduction," says Myshak-Davis. "Those who participated in ongoing health education with the registered nurse saw a greater improvement in weight, BMI, blood pressure, diabetes control and kidney function."

Ultimately, the results demonstrate how health education and promotion delivered in a primary care setting can lead to improved health outcomes and quality of life for patients, adds Dr. Evans.

Dr. Brodie Sakakibara, CCDPM investigator and Assistant Professor with the UBC Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, was a key contributor to this study which was published recently in Family Practice.

The post Diet and lifestyle education in a family practice clinic can benefit wellbeing appeared first on UBC Okanagan News.



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