Effect of physician-delivered nutrition counseling training and an office-support program on saturated fat intake, weight, and serum lipid measurements in a hyperlipidemic population: Worcester Area Trial for Counseling in Hyperlipidemia (WATCH)

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine; Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Aged; *Body Weight; Counseling; Dietary Fats; Female; Health Maintenance Organizations; Humans; *Hyperlipidemias; Internal Medicine; Lipids; Male; Massachusetts; Middle Aged; Nutrition Physiology; Patient Education as Topic; *Physicians; Primary Health Care


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Women's Studies


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of a training program for physician-delivered nutrition counseling, alone and in combination with an office-support program, on dietary fat intake, weight, and blood low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in patients with hyperlipidemia.

PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS: Forty-five primary care internists at the Fallon Community Health Plan, a central Massachusetts health maintenance organization, were randomized by site into 3 groups: (1) usual care; (2) physician nutrition counseling training; and (3) physician nutrition counseling training plus an office-support program. Eleven hundred sixty-two of their patients with blood total cholesterol levels in the highest 25th percentile, having previously scheduled physician visits, were recruited. Physicians in groups 2 and 3 attended a 3-hour training program on the use of brief patient-centered interactive counseling and the use of an office-support program that included in-office prompts, algorithms, and simple dietary assessment tools. Primary outcome measures included change at 1-year of follow-up in percentage of energy intake from saturated fat; weight; and blood low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.

RESULTS: Improvement was seen in all 3 primary outcome measures, but was limited to patients in group 3. Compared with group 1, patients in group 3 had average reductions of 1.1 percentage points in percent of energy from saturated fat (a 10.3% decrease) (P = .01); a reduction in weight of 2.3 kg (PCONCLUSION: Brief supported physician nutrition counseling can produce beneficial changes in diet, weight, and blood lipids.

DOI of Published Version



Arch Intern Med. 1999 Apr 12;159(7):725-31.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Archives of internal medicine

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Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID