Introduction Limited research has examined primary care providers' communication with patients about maintaining cognitive functioning. Our study's objective was to compare the perceptions of consumers and primary care providers related to beliefs and communication practices about lifestyle behaviors beneficial for overall health and for maintaining cognitive functioning. Methods In 2009, we submitted 10 questions to Porter Novelli's HealthStyles survey and 6 questions to their DocStyles survey. We compared consumers' (n = 4,728) and providers' (n = 1,250) beliefs, practices, and information sources related to maintaining health and cognitive functioning. We made comparisons using nonparametric statistics. Results Approximately 76% of consumers considered their health to be good or very good; 73.4% were concerned or very concerned about the possibility that their memory may worsen with age. Women were significantly more concerned than men, and white consumers were more concerned than black and Hispanic consumers. Consumers reported they believed that intellectual stimulation (86.6%), physical activity (82.6%), and healthful diet (82.5%) prevented or delayed cognitive impairment. Providers reported advising patients to reduce cognitive impairment riskthrough physical activity (85.9%), intellectual stimulation (80.3%), and social involvement (67.4%). Few consumers (7.8%) reported receiving this information from providers but reported learning about strategies to maintain memory, primarily from television (50.1%), magazines (44.1%), and newspapers(33.7%). Conclusion Providers reported advising patients about how to reduce risks of cognitive impairment. Consumers reported receiving this information from other sources. Findings suggest a need to examine and assess mediamessages and to better understand patient-provider communication about cognitive functioning.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health