How to Encourage Patients to Live Healthier Lifestyles

Updated on April 20, 2021

Working as a doctor, nutritionist, occupational therapist, or in any other role in healthcare means that you care about the well-being of others. Living a healthy lifestyle is something that everyone should be doing, but the reality is that some aren’t as interested in this or struggle to maintain one. If you work in healthcare and deal with patients who need to make changes to their lifestyle for the benefit of their health, but you’re not sure how to encourage this effectively, here are a few tips.


Most people already understand the basics of living a healthy lifestyle, but there are a lot of reasons why they might not be following one. It’s important to get them talking and listen to why they are choosing unhealthier habits for themselves, rather than just giving them a lecture about why their lifestyle is bad for them. They might be struggling with other issues that are affecting how they eat, drink, sleep, etc., and getting them the right support will be more likely to help them sustain a healthier lifestyle in the future. 

Educate Them About Nutrition

There is a lot of information about nutrition available out there, but that doesn’t necessarily mean everybody is learning about it. Educating your patients, a little bit on nutrition could help them recognize how important their diet is and how different foods can be good for things like their heart, bones, kidneys, brain, and so on. Perhaps even giving out pamphlets that they can take home with this information could be useful, as they will have it to refer to even when you’re not there with them.

Give Them Quick Tips

Another way to encourage your patients to move towards a healthier lifestyle is by offering them some quick and easy solutions that they shouldn’t struggle to keep up with. Things like taking multivitamin gummies as something to help boost their health, or taking a short walk once a day, or using the stairs in office blocks. By telling them how they can boost their health in quick, manageable ways throughout the day, they can start to see how the path to a healthier lifestyle doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and there is no excuse not to do these things because they are so easy to do.

Set Realistic Targets

If your patients want to make a change, it’s important to come up with realistic goals for them. Remind them that things won’t drastically change overnight, that it will take time for them to adjust to new patterns and see results. By being realistic about their targets, they are less likely to feel disappointed and deterred because they have been expecting to achieve impossible results. Help them to develop a safe, healthy plan for weight loss or weight gain, quitting smoking, etc. 

Be Honest

Finally, while you need to be sensitive to your patients, you also need to be honest with them about your concerns. If they are continuing with bad habits that could lead to serious health issues within a matter of years, tell them this. They don’t have to take your advice but highlighting the dangers of their current lifestyle and why it’s so important to be healthier is your responsibility as a healthcare professional. It might be a tough conversation, but they need to know.

If you’re struggling with how to encourage your patients to move towards a healthier lifestyle, try these tips and see if they can help you.

Throughout the year, our writers feature fresh, in-depth, and relevant information for our audience of 40,000+ healthcare leaders and professionals. As a healthcare business publication, we cover and cherish our relationship with the entire health care industry including administrators, nurses, physicians, physical therapists, pharmacists, and more. We cover a broad spectrum from hospitals to medical offices to outpatient services to eye surgery centers to university settings. We focus on rehabilitation, nursing homes, home care, hospice as well as men’s health, women’s heath, and pediatrics.