Attitudes to cardiovascular health promotion among GPs and practice nurses

Andrew Steptoe, Sheelagh Doherty, Tony Kendrick, Elizabeth Rink, Sean Hilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

68 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Cardiovascular health promotion is an important element of national health strategy, but doubts have been raised about current methods, and attitudes among general practice staff are ambivalent. Objectives. We aimed to assess attitudes to cardiovascular health promotion, opinions about efficacy and perceptions of skills in lifestyle counselling in GPs and nurses from the same practices. Method. A questionnaire survey of 107 GPs and 58 practice nurses from 19 group practices (100% response rate). Results. Practice nurses were seen to have the main responsibility for cardiovascular health promotion. Although attitudes to health promotion were generally positive, lack of training in lifestyle counselling was perceived to be a problem. Few responders believed that they were very influential in helping people change their lifestyles. Beliefs about the effectiveness of lifestyle counselling were mixed, with cigarette smoking, physical inactivity and obesity being seen as difficult to change. Beliefs in the effectiveness of lifestyle counselling were associated with positive attitudes towards health promotion and greater confidence in training. No association between personal health behaviour and attitudes towards health promotion were observed. Conclusions. It is recognized that health promotion involves more than the provision of simple information and advice, but GPs and practice nurses lack confidence in lifestyle counselling skills. The attitudes of health professionals are crucial to the implementation of prevention strategies and require regular review.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-163
Number of pages6
JournalFamily Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Attitudes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • General practice
  • Health promotion

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    Steptoe, A., Doherty, S., Kendrick, T., Rink, E., & Hilton, S. (1999). Attitudes to cardiovascular health promotion among GPs and practice nurses. Family Practice, 16(2), 158-163.