At World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) we produce lots of health tools and resources but recognise that giving people health information only goes so far when it comes to behaviour change.

That is why we have produced Changing behaviours, a guide for health professionals to support them to have effective conversations with patients and clients about healthy lifestyle choices.

Our new guide provides health professionals with listening and communication techniques to help facilitate conversations with their patients. The guide also includes real-life examples and activities to complete.

Practical guidance

Sidonie Sakula-Barry, from WCRF’s Health Information Team, said: "Encouraging people to make healthy lifestyle choices can be difficult and a lot of health professionals who use our resources would like to receive more practical guidance on how to approach these conversations with their patients and clients.

"That’s why we have consulted with behaviour change specialists and health professional representatives to create a booklet that will help health professionals guide their conversations about behaviour change in a way that includes and encourages their patients and clients to make lasting changes."

Finding the right words

Karan Thomas, behaviour change specialist at the Director of Health Development Consultancy, who worked on the booklet, said: “In a brief interaction, it’s difficult to know whether the information you give people is having an impact. Sometimes it can be hard to find the right words to start a conversation about someone’s health choices.

“This guide will help you make every contact count by giving practical tips on how to raise the issue of lifestyle changes with your adult patients and clients, which will help facilitate their behaviour change.

“Along with starting the conversation, this guide will help you to give advice in a way that is most helpful in promoting behaviour change. Two-thirds of people want to be healthier1 – and health professionals are in a great position to help them make those changes.”

References

  1. WCRF YouGov Survey. 2019. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size for the 2019 results was 2094 adults and fieldwork was undertaken between 15–18 February 2019. The surveys were carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). Email informed@wcrf.org for full survey results.