-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Only 44 percent of
primary-care doctors say they've helped obese patients lose weight,
and many believe that nutritionists and dietitians are the most
qualified care providers for these patients, researchers have
For the new study, researchers surveyed 500 primary-care doctors
across the United States in order to get their views about the
causes of obesity, their ability to treat obese patients, ways to
improve obesity care and which health professionals are most
qualified to care for obese patients.
"In order to begin improving obesity care, medical education should focus on enhancing those obesity-related skills primary-care physicians feel most qualified to deliver, as well as changing the composition of health care teams and practice resources," study lead author Sara Bleich, an assistant professor in the health policy and management department at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, said in a school news release.
"With respect to training and practice-based changes [that] primary-care physicians would like to see implemented, 93 percent reported that including body-mass index (or BMI, a measurement based on height and weight) as a fifth vital sign would be helpful; 89 percent reported that including diet and exercise tips in patients' charts would be helpful; 85 percent reported that having scales that calculate BMI would be helpful; and 69 percent reported that adding BMI to patients' charts would be helpful," Bleich said.
The investigators also found that primary-care doctors who had
been in practice for fewer than 20 years following completion of
medical school were more likely to say two important causes of
obesity were lack of information about good eating habits and lack
of access to healthy food.
"There are few differences in primary-care physicians' perspectives about the causes of obesity or solutions to improve care, regardless of when they completed medical school, suggesting that obesity-related medical education has changed little over time," Bleich said.
"Physicians who completed medical school more recently reported feeling more successful helping obese patients lose weight," she added. "However, no matter when they completed medical school they overwhelmingly supported additional training and practice-based changes to help them improve their obesity care."
The study was published online Dec. 20 in the journal
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more
treatment of overweight and obesity.
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