Do family physicians advise younger people on cardiovascular disease prevention? A cross-sectional study from Slovenia
Springer Science and Business Media LLC -- BMC Family Practice
DOI 10.1186/1471-2296-14-82
  1. Primary prevention
  2. Cardiovascular diseases
  3. Family practice
  4. Counselling
  5. Multilevel analysis


One of the main family practice interventions in the younger healthy population is advice on how to keep or develop a healthy lifestyle. In this study we explored the level of counselling regarding healthy lifestyle by family physicians and the factors associated with it.


A cross-sectional study with a random sample of 36 family practices, stratified by size and location. Each practice included up to 40 people aged 18–45 with low/medium risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Data were obtained by patient and practice questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. Several predictors on the patient and practice level for received advice in seven areas of CVD prevention were applied in corresponding models using a two-level logistic regression analysis.


Less than half of the eligible people received advice for the presented risk factors and the majority of them found it useful. Practices with medium patient list-sizes showed consistently higher level of advice in all areas of CVD prevention. Independent predictors for receiving advice on cholesterol management were patients’ higher weight (regression coefficient 0.04, p=0.03), urban location of practice (regression coefficient 0.92, p=0.04), organisation of education by the practice (regression coefficient 0.47, p=0.01) and practice list size (regression coefficient 6.04, p=0.04). Patients who self-assessed their health poorly more frequently received advice on smoking (regression coefficient −0.26, p=0.03). Hypertensive patients received written information more often (regression coefficient 0.66, p=0.04). People with increased weight more often received advice for children’s lifestyle (regression coefficient 0.06, p=0.03). We did not find associations with patient or practice characteristics and advice regarding weight and physical activity. We did not find a common pattern of predictors for advice.


Counselling for risk diseases such as increased cholesterol is more frequently provided than basic lifestyle counselling. We found some doctors and practice factors associated with counselling behaviour, but the majority has to be explained by further studies.