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Lifestyle modification

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Lifestyle modification

As a nation we are living longer but many people are still dying prematurely, and among the under 75s, an estimated two-thirds of deaths are thought to be avoidable. Many of these deaths could be avoided by achieving an earlier diagnosis and treatment, or by making changes to the wider social determinants of health such as housing and employment, but also through lifestyle modifications. It is widely recognised that changes to lifestyle – especially the four most commonly addressed behaviour change and lifestyle modifications, smoking, exercise, diet and alcohol use – can reduce the risk of disease and help to manage the disease once present.1

Lifestyle modification may be recommended on its own, with or prior to medication depending on the change required, and clear guidance is available on the most effective methods to support people with changes. These methods may be on a population level or an individual basis and it is here that the practice nurse is ideally placed to support the individual to make changes.

This resource, which is based on some typical case scenarios, is offered at intermediate level and includes five assessment questions to support your continuing professional development. Complete the resource, including the further reading and some or all of the suggested activities, to obtain a certificate for one hour of continuing professional development to include in your annual portfolio.

Aims and objectives

On the completion of this resource you should have an understanding of:

  • Brief behaviour change interventions
  • Your role in opportunistic smoking advise
  • Recommended exercise levels
  • Recommended alcohol consumption levels
  • Healthy eating recommendations


1. Department of Health, Living Well for Longer: A call to action to reduce avoidable premature mortality, 2013.

Reading list

Office for National statistics, National Life Tables 2011-2013, 2014 NICE Commissioning guideline (CMG) 45. Services for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, 2012.

European Guidelines on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Clinical Practice. European Heart Journal 2012:33, 1635-1701. Available:

NICE PHG 49. Behaviour change: individual approaches, 2014.