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June 21, 2016

Changing Dietary Habits and Improving the Healthiness of Diets in the United States

Author Affiliations
  • 1Formerly with University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas
JAMA. 2016;315(23):2527-2529. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.7636

Physicians like challenges, and it is time to embrace a difficult one. Lifestyle choices of poor diet, physical inactivity, sleep deprivation, and medication nonadherence have adverse health consequences; however, clinical trials have demonstrated that when improved choices are introduced, patients have an opportunity to experience reversal of adverse consequences.1,2 Although this knowledge has advanced clinical care, merely educating patients about the proven effectiveness of lifestyle changes is not enough to help patients change their behaviors. Physicians and other health care professionals must find the best way to translate research findings into actionable messages, help patients set achievable goals, monitor progress, and manage relapses. These are significant, challenging tasks to accomplish in an office visit, particularly for the fundamental lifestyle factor of diet.

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