Public Health Nutrition

HOT TOPIC – Local community nutrition

Changes in lifestyle habits after counselling by nurse practitioners: 1-year results of the Groningen Overweight and Lifestyle study

Nancy CW ter Bogta1 c1, Ivon EJ Mildera2, Wanda JE Bemelmansa2, Frank W Beltmana1, Jan Broera3, Andries J Smita4 and Klaas van der Meera1

a1 Department of General Practice, University Medical Center Groningen, PO Box 196, 9700 AD Groningen, The Netherlands

a2 Centre for Prevention and Health Services Research, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands

a3 Municipal Public Health Service Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands

a4 Department of Internal Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen, RB Groningen, The Netherlands


Objectives The Groningen Overweight and Lifestyle (GOAL) study primarily aims at preventing weight gain by nurse practitioners (NP) guided by a standardized computerized software program. Since favourable changes in physical activity (PA) and diet may improve health independently of weight (loss), insight into effects on lifestyle habits is essential. We examined the 1-year effects of lifestyle counselling by NP on PA and diet, compared with usual care from the general practitioner (GP-UC).

Design A randomized controlled trial.

Setting Eleven general practice locations in the Netherlands.

Subjects A total of 341 GOAL participants with overweight or obesity and either hypertension or dyslipidaemia, or both, who completed an FFQ and Short Questionnaire to Assess Health-Enhancing Physical Activity (SQUASH) at baseline and after 1 year.

Results After 1 year, the NP group spent 33 min/week more on walking compared with the GP-UC group who spent −5 min/week on walking (P = 0·05). No significant differences were found between the NP and GP-UC groups on the percentage of persons complying with the PA guidelines. In both groups, nutrient intake changed in a favourable direction and participants complied more often with dietary guidelines, but without overall difference between the NP and GP-UC groups.

Conclusions With the exception of an increase in walking (based on self-reported data) in the NP group, no intervention effects on PA and diet occurred. Positive changes in nutrient intake were seen in both groups.

(Received March 19 2010)

(Accepted December 07 2010)

(Online publication January 28 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: Email