Previous studies suggested that involvement of healthcare professionals (HCP) in vascular risk factors (VRF) management and patient education reflects their beliefs and attitudes about it [1]. We aimed to investigate the commitment of HCP, involved in stroke management, to the ‘1 in 6’ campaign of the World Stroke Organization [2].

All participants of the fifth Portuguese Stroke Congress were invited to answer an anonymous structured questionnaire on arrival to the congress secretariat. The questionnaire included demographic data and six ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions on commitment to each of the six items included in the ‘1 in 6’ campaign.

Among 712 participants, 347 accepted to participate (response rate 48·7%, mean age 35·9 years, male 29·1%): physicians, n = 193 (55·6%); nurses, n = 109 (31·4%); physiotherapists, n = 15 (4·3%); students, n = 15 (4·3%); and other HCP, n = 15 (4·3%). Commitment to each item was the following: knowledge of personal VRF, 98·6%; engagement in physical activity, 59·4%; obesity avoidance, 81·8%; alcohol consumption moderation, 98·5%; cigarette smoking avoidance, 86·7%; stroke warning signs recognition and how to take action, 99·7%.

Despite an optimal knowledge of VRF and stroke warning signs, a significant percentage of HCP do not themselves adhere to specific prevention measures. Physical activity, and to a lesser extent, avoidance of obesity and cigarette smoking, are features that should be specifically addressed in this group. Adherence of physicians to healthy habits seems to improve capability to motivate their patients for similar behaviors, and to ameliorate this kind of counseling [3]. On the other hand, the way these recommendations are perceived by patients may vary: health advice from healthy physicians seem to cause a greater impact in changing patients’ attitudes when compared with health advice from less healthier physicians [4].

The high percentage of nonrespondents suggests that our results may be overestimated, nevertheless their impact in the general population should be elucidated.


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