Theory to practice: Implementing behavior change with your patients

Lee A. Learman, Ronald A. Chez, Cynthia Chazotte

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Obstetricians/Gynecologists can play a pivotal role in helping their patients modify unhealthy behaviors. The authors describe a clinically- oriented framework for helping patients implement and maintain three desirable health behaviors: regular exercise, weight loss, and smoking cessation. Patients who successfully implement these behaviors can expect substantial physical and psychological health benefits. The statements and sentiments expressed by physicians can greatly facilitate progress through the stages of contemplating making a change, preparing to make a change, and finally implementing and maintaining a new behavior. Relapse on one or more occasions is commonplace. The physician's role is to help the patient view relapse in a normative context, help identify the underlying reasons, provide strategies for averting another relapse, and motivate the patient to try again. Because of the substantial impact on morbidity, mortality, and quality of life, physicians and patients must overcome barriers to working on behavior change and consider it a long-term project within the physician- patient relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-38
Number of pages6
JournalPrimary Care Update for Ob/Gyns
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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