GPs' views on the implementation of combined lifestyle interventions in primary care in the Netherlands: a qualitative study

W. van der Heiden, Jpw Lacroix, E. P. Moll van Charante, Ejaj Beune

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: Prevention and lifestyle support are emerging topics in general practice. Healthcare insurance companies reimburse combined lifestyle interventions (CLIs) in the Netherlands since January 2019. CLIs support people with overweight (body mass index, BMI 25-30) or obesity (BMI >30) to reduce weight in peer groups. General practitioners (GPs) are key in the successful implementation of lifestyle interventions in primary care. This study explored GPs' experiences and views on the implementation of CLIs to identify barriers and facilitators to the successful implementation in primary care. DESIGN: Qualitative study using semistructured interviews. Content analysis consisted of thematic coding and mapping a first stage of predefined and second stage of iterative evolving set of themes. SETTING: GPs were interviewed in a variety of primary care practices between February and April 2019. PARTICIPANTS: Fifteen GPs were purposively recruited for semi-structured interviews through snowballing. RESULTS: Experiences with lifestyle support among GPs ranged from referring patients to other healthcare professionals to taking a proactive role in lifestyle support themselves. Whether or not GPs took an active role in lifestyle support was related to their belief in the effect of lifestyle interventions. Overall, GPs had little experience with CLI in every day practice. Perceived barriers were a lack of availability of CLIs in the region and the potential lack of added value of CLIs on top of existing lifestyle support. Perceived facilitators were coordination of care provision by GP cooperatives and monitoring of the CLI implementation and their results. Reimbursement of CLIs without any costs for participants enabled application. CONCLUSION: The importance of lifestyle interventions in primary care was acknowledged by all GPs, but they differed in their level of experience with providing lifestyle support and awareness of CLIs. Successful integration of CLIs with primary care requires a solid promotion, a well-coordinated implementation strategy and structural evaluation of long-term effectiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere056451
Pages (from-to)e056451
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2022


  • preventive medicine
  • primary care
  • public health
  • qualitative research

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