Physician Assistant M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Naser, Lisa


Chronic disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. The burden of chronic disease can be largely prevented by following a healthy lifestyle. Individuals often receive their knowledge about preventive health recommendations from their primary care provider, and healthcare providers are more likely to counsel patients about the healthful behaviors they themselves practice. This study utilized a survey distributed to the Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants to assess the personal health habits of physician assistants and the effect personal health has on preventive health counseling practices. A personal health score and counseling score were calculated for each participant based on survey responses. Better adherence to preventive health guidelines and more frequent counseling about these guidelines correlated with higher scores. Participants with a personal health score of nine or greater were labeled healthy. Participants were separated into four practice categories based on their specialty’s expected counseling practices. Data analysis showed all participants followed guidelines for tobacco use, blood pressure monitoring, and immunizations, while guidelines for dietary and exercise habits were poorly followed. Healthy participants adhered to alcohol use, body mass index, vegetable intake, strength training, and physical activity guidelines significantly better than unhealthy participants. Personal health score was found to be independent of practice category, and there was no significant difference in the counseling practices of healthy versus unhealthy participants. No correlation was found between personal health score and counseling score. This study was limited due to sample size, and further research is needed on the effect personal health has on preventive health counseling.

Degree Name

Masters of Science in Physician Assistant

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis

Included in

Primary Care Commons