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Setting goal and implementation intentions in consultations between practice nurses and patients with overweight or obesity in general practice.

Dillen, S.M.E. van, Noordman, J., Dulmen, S. van, Hiddink, G.J. Setting goal and implementation intentions in consultations between practice nurses and patients with overweight or obesity in general practice. Public Health Nutrition: 2015, 18(16), 3051-3059
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Objective
Patients with overweight or obesity increasingly attend general practice, which is an ideal setting for weight-loss counselling. The present study is the first to investigate the quality of weight-loss counselling provided by practice nurses in general practice to patients with overweight or obesity, in order to identify points for improvement. Design An observational checklist was developed to assess goal and implementation intentions and ‘missed opportunities for lifestyle counselling’. Comparisons were made with overall consultation goals set by practice nurses, as measured in a post-visit questionnaire.

Setting
Dutch general practice. Subjects One hundred video-taped consultations (2010/2011) between practice nurses and patients with overweight or obesity.

Results
Half of the consultations contained a goal intention, of which the majority aimed to change eating behaviour. Only part of these goal intentions could be considered implementation intentions. It appeared that actions (how elements) were not often included here. Lifestyle change was more often perceived as an overall consultation goal than weight change. Regarding patterns of overall consultation goals, the majority addressed only one lifestyle factor at a time. If practice nurses formulated weight change in their overall consultation goal, they also used goal or implementation intentions, especially for weight change. In a quarter of the consultations, practice nurses did not ask any further questions about weight, nutrition or physical activity to gain insight, which is an important ‘missed opportunity for lifestyle counselling’.

Conclusions
Matching implementation intentions to the broader overall consultation goals of practice nurses would be meaningful, leading to desired goal-directed behaviours and subsequent goal attainment. (aut. ref.)