Publication Details

Ashley, C., Halcomb, E., McInnes, S., Robinson, K., Lucas, E., Harvey, S. & Remm, S. (2020). Middle-aged Australians’ perceptions of support to reduce lifestyle risk factors: a qualitative study. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 26 (4), 313-318.


Increasingly, middle-aged people are demonstrating lifestyle risk factors that increase their risk of developing chronic disease. Reducing lifestyle risk in middle age can significantly reduce future morbidity and mortality and improve quality of life. Understanding peoples’ perceptions of health support is important to inform health professionals and policymakers regarding strategies to support lifestyle risk reduction. This paper seeks to explore middle-aged Australians’ perceptions of support for lifestyle risk reduction. Thirty-four middle-aged Australians were interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis. The overarching theme ‘support for healthy lifestyles’ comprised three subthemes. ‘Engagement with general practice’ highlighted gender differences in why people attend and what impacts their access to general practice. ‘Providing information’ emphasised participants’ experiences of lifestyle risk communication in general practice. Finally, ‘Sources of support’ revealed participants’ current health advice-seeking behaviours. Findings highlight a need for general practices to better engage middle-aged people in behaviour change and educate them about the role of general practice in prevention and health promotion. Consistent messaging across the community and strategies that focus on gender-specific concerns are likely to ensure that middle-aged people are able to make informed choices about seeking support for lifestyle risk reduction.



Link to publisher version (DOI)