Family physician attitudes in managing obesity: A cross-sectional survey study

Department of Family Medicine and Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY, USA. .
BMC Research Notes 11/2011; 4(1):473. DOI: 10.1186/1756-0500-4-473
Source: PubMed


Obesity is epidemic in primary care. While family physicians care for the consequences of obesity, they do not generally feel confident managing obesity itself. We examined the barriers to obesity management in a sample of family physicians in a primary care practice-based research network (PBRN).
204 family physicians were invited to respond to a survey on physician beliefs about obese patients and causes of obesity. A total of 75 physicians responded to the survey. Responses were factor analyzed using standard techniques. Comments were sorted into ranked themes by the investigators. The results show systemic barriers to obesity management. Seven general factors were identified, with some discrepancy seen in the role of "psychobehavioral causation" between rural and non-rural physicians. Themes derived from the comments reflected frustration with the resources and structure of current primary care systems to be able to deal with obesity.
Our pilot survey suggests that differences in beliefs regarding the causes of obesity may exist between rural and non-rural physicians. Further research in larger, more diverse samples is necessary to further illuminate practice differences. More comprehensive approaches to obesity management, like the Chronic Care Model, are suggested by these results.

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    • "Physicians felt treatment for obesity was ineffective; held negative views of obese patients' appearance and compliance; attributed obesity causation to lifestyle factors; and sought greater compensation in delivering obesity treatment [13]. Similar to other studies, physicians in New York State expressed frustration in attempting to treat obesity [14]. This frustration was based on the extent to which obesity-contributing factors were outside their control, low sense of self-efficacy in treating obesity, and a perceived lack of reimbursement. "
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