U.S. Preventive Services Task Force finds the benefit of behavioral counseling interventions to promote a healthy diet and physical activity is small

In a recent recommendation statement, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) announced that behavioral counseling to promote a healthy diet and exercise was not very effective in improving health outcomes among adults without hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, or cardiovascular disease. The USPSTF recommends that clinicians should selectively counsel patients rather than offering counseling to all patients.

After reviewing the existing evidence, the USPSTF concluded that there is enough evidence to suggest that medium-to-high intensity behavioral counseling (e.g., multiple phone and in-person sessions) results in only small to moderate health benefits (that is, decreased blood pressure, decreased blood lipid levels, and improved glucose tolerance) in the short term. There was not enough evidence to determine the benefits of these interventions in the long term.

These findings only apply to healthy adults who have no signs of obesity related diseases. For adult patients with hyperlipidemia and other known risk factors for cardiovascular and diet-related chronic disease, the USPSTF recommends intensive behavioral dietary counseling.

Read the full Recommendation Statement here.


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