Family, friends and GPs are the top sources of weight and nutrition information, a new study shows… but there’s a catch

LiveLighter, the public health education campaign that encourages Australians to make healthier food and drink choices and be more active, surveyed Victorians to find out where they got their health and nutrition advice.

Friends and family were the overall favourite, with 41% of people turning to theirs to learn more about nutrition; GPs came in second overall, at 36%. In regional areas, GPs came top, at 38%, with friends and family dropping to 37%.

Dietitians and nutritionists also polled well at 22%, while the Australian Dietary Guidelines came in at 31%.

As for pharmacists… they weren’t listed among the possible answers for survey participants to choose from, so it’s unknown as to how they would have scored.

However LiveLighter Campaign Manager Alison McAleese told the AJP that pharmacists are in a great position to support patients with a healthy lifestyle.

“Many medications are even more effective with an accompanying healthy lifestyle,” she says.

“So, when providing advice about medications, pharmacists can spend 2-4 minutes at the end of the medication review exploring whether the client would like assistance to change their lifestyle.

“For example, for a patient starting or switching blood pressure medications, a pharmacist could also ask, ‘did your GP also speak to you about how a following a healthy eating pattern while taking this medication can help you achieve your target blood pressure? Is that something you would like more information on?’

“Having education brochures – such as information from LiveLighter – available in the pharmacy may help ease the burden on having to provide specific advice for each client.

“Equally, referring back to the GP or providing contact details of a local dietitian to follow up the conversation can make this task manageable.

“While this may only take a few minutes it is invaluable, because the more health professionals providing consistent advice on healthy lifestyles to patients the more opportunities we provide them with to make a healthy change.”