Dietary modifications are key health behaviour recommendations for the prevention and management of hypertension, a leading contributor of global disease burden. Despite this, few primary care physicians discuss nutrition with their patients. This study describes the barriers and facilitators to the provision of dietary advice for hypertension prevention and management among Canadian physicians. A validated 62-item cross-sectional survey was distributed online to 103 Canadian primary care physicians between 2017 and 2019. Eighty participants were included in the analyses. The majority of participants were based in Ontario (68.7%) and saw 10–24 patients per week (53.5%). Fewer than half (47.5%) of participants were knowledgeable about the recommended sodium level by Hypertension Canada (< 2000 mg/day) and 38.8% felt it was difficult to know which foods are high or low in sodium. Approximately one quarter felt the findings about sodium and hypertension and cardiovascular disease are controversial. Other significant barriers were: not enough time to talk to patients about diet (76.3%), belief that patients are not truthful about their diet (76.3%), patients would not follow their advice (46.8%), and that it was difficult to keep up with so many guidelines (50.0%). Many identified that electronic medical record tools (80.8%), access to dietitians (84.9%), or more nutrition education in medical training (65.8%) would help facilitate advice. Given the importance of diet and the central role of physicians in motivating dietary change among patients, approaches are required to address identified barriers and facilitators to providing dietary advice to reduce the burden of hypertension.
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This research was funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
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Dash, S., Delibasic, V., Alsaeed, S. et al. Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviours Related to Physician-Delivered Dietary Advice for Patients with Hypertension. J Community Health 45, 1067–1072 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-020-00831-x
- Diet advice
- Barriers and facilitators
- Primary care