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Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Bad medicine: health promotion

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 17 April 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2755
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

Research is flawed and open to the bias of the authors because people don’t invest time and energy to prove themselves wrong. So if research conclusions don’t make intuitive sense, it is prudent to question the validity of the research. So it is with the conclusions of research into health promotion, because I don’t believe that educating (that is, lecturing) patients to change lifestyle works. It is simply not how people operate. Patients are aware of risks but wantonly choose to ignore our advice. But governments ignore this: health promotion in England costs £3.7bn …

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