Cover: The Practices of General and Subspecialty Internists in Counseling About Smoking and Exercise

The Practices of General and Subspecialty Internists in Counseling About Smoking and Exercise

Published in: American Journal of Public Health, v. 76, no. 8, Aug. 1986, p. 1009-1013

Posted on 1986

by Kenneth B. Wells, Charles Lewis, Barbara Leake, Mary Kay Schleiter, Robert H. Brook

The authors compared the practices of subspecialists and general internists in counseling about smoking and exercise, using data from a study of recent graduates of United States training programs in internal medicine. Information on the characteristics of physicians and their clinical practices was obtained from self-report questionnaires. The internists most likely to counsel smokers regardless of the presence or absence of diseases associated with smoking are cardiologists, pulmonary specialists, nephrologists, and generalists trained in a primary care residency funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation or Health Resources Administration. Most internists practice tertiary prevention by counseling a high percentage of smokers with heart or lung disease. Rheumatologists counsel a higher percentage of all patients with poor exercise habits but a lower percentage of such patients with heart disease than do other internists. The differences in counseling related to training are not explained by different levels of involvement as a primary care physician. Rather, these differences appear to reflect training and subspecialty-specific priorities for counseling.

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