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Barriers to lifestyle risk factor assessment and management in hypertension: a qualitative study of Australian general practitioners


Howes, F and Warnecke, E and Nelson, M, Barriers to lifestyle risk factor assessment and management in hypertension: a qualitative study of Australian general practitioners, Journal of Human Hypertension, 27, (8) pp. 474-478. ISSN 0950-9240 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1038/jhh.2013.9


Hypertension is a leading cause of mortality and disease burden worldwide, yet its management remains suboptimal. Identification and management of lifestyle risk factors should be a clinical priority in all patients because of the beneficial effects of lifestyle intervention on blood pressure. The objective of this qualitative focus group study was to identify barriers to lifestyle management in hypertension in Australian general practice. Purposeful sampling was used to select large group practices. Six focus groups (n=30) were audio recorded and transcribed. An iterative thematic analysis was conducted. Overall participants felt they had the required knowledge to provide broad lifestyle advice. However, cynicism dominated due to an overwhelming lack of success in practice. Patient reluctance and ambivalence were identified as major barriers but participants were willing to share the responsibility. Other barriers included time, reduced access to allied health and broader determinants of health. General practitioners need to be empowered to allow continuation of valuable lifestyle advice and counselling. The results emphasise the importance of ongoing lifestyle assessment and tailoring of management to the complex interplay of factors that impact on a patient's ability to adopt and maintain lifestyle change. System issues need to be addressed to provide better streamlined care

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:general practice, family practice, blood pressure, hypertension, lifestyle, barriers
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Cardiovascular medicine and haematology
Research Field:Cardiology (incl. cardiovascular diseases)
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Howes, F (Dr Faline Howes)
UTAS Author:Warnecke, E (Dr Emma Warnecke)
UTAS Author:Nelson, M (Professor Mark Nelson)
ID Code:84007
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:12
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2013-04-10
Last Modified:2014-05-05

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