Do the Five A's Work When Physicians Counsel About Weight Loss?

Durham VA Medical Center, Durham, NC 27705, USA.
Family medicine (Impact Factor: 1.17). 03/2011; 43(3):179-84.
Source: PubMed


More than two thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Physician counseling may help patients lose weight; however, physicians perceive these discussions as somewhat futile and time-consuming. An effective and efficient tool for smoking cessation is the Five A's (Ask, Advise, Assess, Assist, and Arrange). We studied the effectiveness of the Five A's in weight-loss counseling.
We audiorecorded primary care encounters between 40 physicians and 461 of their overweight or obese patients. All were told the study was about preventive health, not weight specifically. Encounters were coded for physician use of the Five A's. Patients' motivation and confidence were assessed before and immediately after the encounter. Three months later, we assessed patient change in dietary fat intake, exercise, and weight.
Generalized linear models were fit adjusting for patient clustering within physician. Physicians used at least one of the Five A's often (83%). Physicians routinely Ask and Advise patients to lose weight; however, they rarely Assess, Assist, or Arrange. Assist and Arrange were related to diet improvement, whereas Advise was associated with increases in motivation and confidence to change dietary fat intake and confidence to lose weight.
Similar to smoking cessation counseling, physicians routinely Asked and Advised patients to lose weight; however, they rarely Assessed, Assisted, or Arranged. Given the potential impact of using all of these counseling tools on changing patient behavior, physicians should be encouraged to increase their use of the Five A's when counseling patients to lose weight.

Download full-text


Available from: Christy Boling Turer
  • Source
    • "Introduction Nutrition and physical activity matter Good counseling works Motivational interviewing Introduction What is motivational interviewing? Ask open-ended questions Practice reflective listening Praise positive behaviors Your goals for using MI Behaviors to avoid Your goals for behaviors to avoid Summary The 5 A's Explanation An example Your examples Teen communication Introduction Explanation An example Summary Take-home messages What other doctors are doing What teens are doing Additional resources To obtain these audio clips, first we coded the baseline encounters for the MI techniques using the Motivational Interviewing Treatment Integrity (MITI) Code [24] and 5 A's with a codebook adapted from our other study with primary care physicians and overweight adult patients [22]. The MITI Code has been previously validated for convergent and discriminant validity [25]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To describe the theoretical basis, use, and satisfaction with Teen CHAT, an online educational intervention designed to improve physician-adolescent communication about healthy weight. Routine health maintenance encounters between pediatricians and family practitioners and their overweight adolescent patients were audio recorded, and content was coded to summarize adherence with motivational interviewing techniques. An online educational intervention was developed using constructs from social cognitive theory and using personalized audio recordings. Physicians were randomized to the online intervention or not, and completed post-intervention surveys. Forty-six physicians were recruited, and 22 physicians were randomized to view the intervention website. The educational intervention took an average of 54min to complete, and most physicians thought it was useful, that they would use newly acquired skills with their patients, and would recommend it to others. Fewer physicians thought it helped them address confidentiality issues with their adolescent patients. The Teen CHAT online intervention shows potential for enhancing physician motivational interviewing skills in an acceptable and time-efficient manner. If found to be effective in enhancing motivational interviewing skills and changing adolescent weight-related behaviors, wide dissemination will be feasible and indicated.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Patient Education and Counseling
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objective: Primary care providers should counsel overweight patients to lose weight. Rates of self-reported, weight-related counseling vary, perhaps because of self-report bias. We assessed the accuracy and congruence of weight-related discussions among patients and physicians during audio-recorded encounters. We audio-recorded encounters between physicians (n = 40) and their overweight/obese patients (n = 461) at 5 community-based practices. We coded weight-related content and surveyed patients and physicians immediately after the visit. Generalized linear mixed models assessed factors associated with accuracy. Overall, accuracy was moderate: patient (67%), physician (70%), and congruence (62%). When encounters containing weight-related content were analyzed, patients (98%) and physicians (97%) were highly accurate and congruent (95%), but when weight was not discussed, patients and physicians were more inaccurate and incongruent (patients, 36%; physicians, 44%; 28% congruence). Physicians who were less comfortable discussing weight were more likely to misreport that weight was discussed (odds ratio, 4.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.88-10.75). White physicians with African American patients were more likely to report accurately no discussion about weight than white physicians with white patients (odds ratio, 0.30; 95% confidence interval, 0.13-0.69). Physician and patient self-report of weight-related discussions were highly accurate and congruent when audio-recordings indicated weight was discussed but not when recordings indicated no weight discussions. Physicians' overestimation of weight discussions when weight is not discussed constitutes missed opportunities for health interventions.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The 5As (ask, advise, assess, assist, arrange) are recommended as a strategy for brief physical activity counseling in primary care. There is no reference standard for measurement, however, and patient participation is not well understood. This study's objectives were to (1) develop a coding scheme to measure the 5As using audio-recordings of primary care visits and (2) describe the degree to which patients and physicians accomplish the 5As. We developed a coding scheme using previously published definitions of the 5As, direct-observation measures, and evaluation of audio-recorded discussions of physical activity. We applied the coding scheme to 361 audio-recorded visits by patients reporting low levels of physical activity and 28 physicians in northeast Ohio. The coding scheme achieved good inter-rater agreement for each of the 5As (κ = 0.62-1.0). A total of 135 visits included discussion of physical activity. Although ask tasks occurred in 91% of visits, it infrequently elicited sufficient detail about current activity. Patient readiness to change physical activity (assess) was infrequently directly elicited by the physician (24%), but readiness was commonly expressed by the patient in response to an assessment of current level of physical activity (53%). Ambivalence was infrequently followed by physician assistance (49%). Our newly developed measure showed that (1) physicians infrequently assess patient readiness to change, (2) patient expressions of ambivalence are common, and (3) specific mention of recommended guidelines for exercise is nearly absent. Future work should increase clinician skills in exploring ambivalence and readiness to change, as well as improve explicit mention of recommended guidelines for physical activity.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · The Annals of Family Medicine
Show more