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AHA Calls For Lifestyle Counselling Training

(Credit: Brian Kersey/Getty Images) The American Heart Association has released a scientific statement which call doctors to have a training. The training asked the physicians to be the lifestyle leaders.It calls for a focus and rigid training of the physicians to improve the critical aspect of patient care. AHA Calls For Lifestyle Counselling Training
October 18
6:00 AM 2016

It is widely acknowledge that lifestyle is medicine and that an essential proportion of ailments are exactly caused by or adversely affected by aspects of a well-being's lifestyle or behavior.

Although, the discordance remains with appropriate lifestyle and behavioral counseling by physicians. Last month, the American Heart Association released a scientific statement, "Medical Training to Achieve Competency in Lifestyle Counseling: An essential Foundation for Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases and Other Chronic Medical Conditions". This scientific statement calls for a focus and rigid training of the physicians to improve the critical aspect of patient care. It looks to improve the service for the welfare of patients.

The statement envisioned to realize its 2020 goals for cardiovascular health promotion. Previously identified lifestyle behavior is also one of the factors to be given a focus. This lifestyle characteristics includes nutrition, physical activity, smoking and adiposity.

The column showcase news and insights for practicing lifestyle medicine is an effort to advance the practice of our clinicians. It is always recommended that lifestyle or behavioral therapy as first line to avoid or treat related diseases as stressed out in a review of clinical practice guidelines which was issued last year.

In addition, in the statement, it is noted that doctors should be the lifestyle leaders and counsel behavior due to their being the best position as front liners with patients. With that 80% of American visit their primary care physician annually.

 As observed, patients put a high value on recommendations from their physicians but unfortunately, the rate of lifestyle counseling from physicians is poor. Reportedly, this is due to feeling a lack of knowledge on diet or exercise and in prescribing those modalities effectively they have low confidence.

To recommend integration of fundamentals to lifestyle, counseling is part of the medical school curricula. General education objectives related to behavioral sciences and lifestyle components were proposed. The proposed learning objectives are split into categories of behavioral sciences and skills, nutritional assessment and counseling. The two counsels are physical activity and exercise assessment and counseling, and tobacco exposure assessment and smoking cessation counseling. Around each category, the statement lists multiple specific recommendations for providers.

Mostly, the statement turns around the physician's education as lack of lifestyle medicine knowledge is think about to be the chief reason why doctors do not discuss it in the clinic.

Personally, we feel that schools with medical curricula wouldn't need to be completely overhauled. There would just need to be more of an emphasis on lifestyle as medicine in each lecture. Whenever applicable with some additional lectures and rotations teaching behavioral science, nutrition, physical activity, and smoking cessation.

Purposely implementing behavior change ("how") in the clinic may require more training than the knowledge ("what") is the goal of AHA. 

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