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Diet and lifestyle education in a family practice clinic can benefit wellbeing – UBC Faculty of Medicine

By Qian Chow | November 22, 2022
Image of female nurse listening to a female patient's heart. Diet and lifestyle education in a family practice clinic can benefit wellbeing.
A new study from researchers at the Faculty of Medicine’s Southern Medical Program (SMP) explores how primary care physicians and allied health professionals can help patients adopt dietary and lifestyle interventions to improve their overall health.
A staggering 70 per cent of Canadians report an unhealthy diet — a risk factor that 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.
“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 Alex Myshak-Davis, an SMP student and the study’s lead author.
For the study, patients in a primary care setting chose from four different dietary options, selecting the ratio of carbohydrates, proteins and fats 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. Evans, a Kelowna-based family physician and affiliate clinician with the Centre for Chronic Disease and Management (CCDPM) based at the SMP in Kelowna.
The patients then participated in educational sessions led by a registered nurse on a one-on-one basis or a small group. They received follow-up support including 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.”
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, says Dr. Evans.
Dr. Brodie Sakakibara, a CCDPM investigator and assistant professor with the department of occupational science and occupational therapy, was a key contributor to this study, which was published recently in Family Practice.
This story is adapted from UBC Okanagan News.

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