It’s easy to think that we can look at the scales and know if we are completely healthy or not. Lots of messages we get in the community would make you think that the number of kilograms on the bathroom scales can tell you everything about your health. It’s actually not that simple!
This week, I had the great pleasure of listening to a talk by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch. Dr. Welch is a general internist and professor of Medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Research in the Geisel School of Medicine.
A few years ago, I had the good fortune to be connected with Dr. Khursheed Jeejeebhoy, a senior nutrition researcher from Toronto. He introduced me to the CHANGE idea. “CHANGE” stands for Canadian Health Advanced by Nutrition and Graded Exercise. CHANGE was a collaboration of researchers from across Canada who were working on a protocol to support lifestyle intervention in the primary care setting. As a family doctor with an interest in health promotion, I was very happy to get involved and contribute to the project.
As a family doctor, I look after people throughout their life. I often see the impact of lifestyle choices on the health of my patients, both good and bad. An increasing number of my patients have preventable chronic conditions like hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Despite evidence showing that lifestyle interventions could substantially reduce costs and complications of these medical conditions, the application of these results into primary care has been low.
As a family doctor, I look after patients throughout their lives, from birth to death. In addition to helping patient with their health concerns, I am always promoting the benefits of good nutrition and regular physical activity. A few weeks ago, one of my patients motivated by his father passing away from a heart attack took me up on my suggestion to improve his lifestyle. Being very active when he was younger he had lots of ideas on how to increase his physical activity. Where he wanted help was on the diet side.