Methods: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study conducted by the methods of practice-based research in the offices of participating U.S. chiropractors. Data were collected by self-report from practitioners and from all patients presenting for treatment in the participating offices for one week in March 2011.
Results: Data were collected on 1891 patients of 38 Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) in 30 practices in 17 U.S. states. Forty-seven percent of DCs reported that they routinely gave advice on diet; 26% on weight management; and 21% on tobacco use. Of the 1891 patients, 24.9% were presenting for wellness/maintenance care only. Forty percent of patients’ health concern’s duration was > 1 year. The mean number of annual visits reported by patients was 14. Of the 12.4% of patients who reported using tobacco currently, 29.1% reported that their practitioner discussed quitting with them. About 40% of patients reported being overweight; 19.5% reported that they received information from their DC on weight management. Only 9.2% of patients reported being obese; 31.6% reported receiving information on weight management from their DC.
Conclusion: Chiropractic patients in this sample presented with risk factors amenable to physician counseling. Their DCs reported routinely providing advice on some risk factors, and a substantial proportion of patients with risk factors reported receiving advice from their DC. Chiropractic practices, in which patients with chronic pain have frequent follow-up visits, present an opportunity to advise patients on health risks, which could contribute to improved health outcomes.
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