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Responses to a GP survey: current controversies in diet and cardiovascular disease

Griffin, Bruce and Nichols, John A.A. (2018) Responses to a GP survey: current controversies in diet and cardiovascular disease BMC Family Practice, 19, 150.

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When advising patients on diet and health, the general practitioner (GP) makes judgements based on the evidence available. Since current evidence on diet and cardiovascular disease is conflicted and confusing, we surveyed the current consensus amongst GPs. The aim of this study was to determine the views of GPs on dietary saturated fat, carbohydrates and long chain omega-3 fatty acids in the management of cardiovascular disease.


An online questionnaire inviting participants to comment on seven contentious statements on diet and cardiovascular disease. Questionnaire circulated to the 1800 members of South West Thames Faculty of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). Participants were invited to tick “ Agree ” , “ Disagree ” or “ Not sure ” and were encouraged to add comments for each question. The results were analysed with a combination of statistical analysis and thematic analysis of comments.


There were 89 responses. Most GPs seem well aware that drug treatment alone is inadequate and that dietary advice is important. However, there was con siderable disagreement about the roles of saturated fats and carbohydrates in ca rdiovascular disease and “ Not sure ” responses ranged from 12 to 40.7%. The 40. 7% related to a statement on long chain omega-3 fatty acids. Analysis of comments revealed more opinions including an awareness of the need to warn patients about trans -fatty acids.


Although the GP response rate was poor, responders do seem to see dietary advice as part of their role but do not consider themselves as experts. Education in this area should have a higher priority.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Biosciences and Medicine
Authors :
Nichols, John A.A.
Date : 31 August 2018
DOI : 10.1186/s12875-018-0840-4
Copyright Disclaimer : © The Author(s). 2018 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( ) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated
Uncontrolled Keywords : Cardiovascular diseases, Primary health care, Nutrition science, Dietetics, Medical education
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 20 Sep 2018 13:21
Last Modified : 20 Sep 2018 13:21

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