Background: Cardiovascular diseases are prominent cause of death. Lifestyle change is effective in decreasing mortality. Perception of patients' cardiovascular risk by physicians is a drive for following preventive recommendations. Whether the hazard perceived by patients influences their attitude towards lifestyle is uncertain. Objective: We hypothesized that high perceived risk would be associated with a stronger determination for lifestyle change, while incorrectly optimistic patients would be less motivated. Methods: Two hundred patients visiting their family physicians were asked to fill out a questionnaire about demographic, clinical and lifestyle characteristics, about their attitude towards lifestyle change and their estimation of their cardiovascular risk. Actual risk was estimated by family physicians based on the national guideline. Results: Questionnaires were completed by 80.5% (161/200) of patients approached. Patients underestimated their risk (P < 0.001), mainly because high-/very high-risk patients classified themselves into lower risk categories. The majority of patients were planning a lifestyle change, losing weight being the most popular goal. It was the priority even for some normal weight subjects and for smokers, too. Perceived risk played a marginal role as a determinant of lifestyle change. Underestimation of perceived risk had no effect on patients' motivation. Self-rated obesity was the predictor of three out of five means of change (weight loss, diet, physical activity). Conclusion: Perceived cardiovascular risk and incorrect optimism about this hazard have minimal, if any, influence on attitude towards lifestyle change. Patients' motivation seems not to be primarily health related.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Family Practice