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Article

Weight assessment and the provision of weight management advice in primary care: a cross-sectional survey of self-reported practice among general practitioners and practice nurses in the United Kingdom

Alternative title Weight management assessment and advice in primary care

Citation
Critchlow N, Rosenberg G, Rumgay H, Petty R & Vohra J (2020) Weight assessment and the provision of weight management advice in primary care: a cross-sectional survey of self-reported practice among general practitioners and practice nurses in the United Kingdom [Weight management assessment and advice in primary care]. BMC Family Practice, 21, Art. No.: 111. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12875-020-01184-z

Abstract
Background: Although primary care settings provide a large-scale and high-reach opportunity for weight management and obesity prevention, the proportion of adults in the United Kingdom (UK) who report receiving weight management advice is limited. This study examines the self-reported frequency of assessing weight and providing weight management advice by General Practitioners (GPs) and Practice Nurses (PNs) working in primary care in the UK, and differences by practitioner characteristics. Methods: Cross-sectional survey with GPs and PNs in the UK (n = 2020), conducted January–March 2017. A mock consultation exercise assessed what factors led to calculating a patient’s Body Mass Index (BMI) and whether weight management advice was given after determining the patient had an obese BMI. For all patients, practitioners were asked how often they calculated BMI, how often they gave weight management advice to patients with an obese BMI, and how often they utilised different advice or referral options (each: Always/Often vs. Less often/Never). Binary logistic regressions examined whether frequency of assessing weight and providing advice was associated with practitioner characteristics. Results: In the mock consultation, physical cues (40%) were most likely to prompt calculation of BMI, and half of practitioners (56%) provided weight management advice after determining the patient had an obese BMI, with GPs less likely to do so than PNs (Odds Ratio [OR] = 0.59, 95% CI: 0.47–0.75). Half of practitioners (58%) said they calculated the BMI of all patients Always/Often, with GPs less likely to do so than PNs (OR = 0.27, 95% CI: 0.21–0.34). Three quarters (78%) said they provided weight management advice to patients with an obese BMI Always/Often, with GPs less likely to do so than PNs (OR = 0.63, 95% CI: 0.47–0.85). Weight management advice was provided more frequently than referrals, particularly suggesting increased physical activity (93%) and diet modification (89%). Conclusions: Consistent with previous research, the findings suggest that opportunities to provide weight management advice in primary care, including to patients with an obese BMI, are potentially missed. Future research should test alternative mechanisms to increase weight assessment and advice provision, examine the effectiveness of advice frequently given, and seek solutions to reported barriers for providing weight management advice.

Keywords
Obesity; Weight management; Primary Care; Survey; Weight Assessment; Overweight; General Practitioners; Nurses; Obesity Policy

Journal
BMC Family Practice: Volume 21

StatusPublished
Author(s)Critchlow, Nathan; Rosenberg, Gillian; Rumgay, Harriet; Petty, Robert; Vohra, Jyotsna
FundersCRUK Cancer Research UK
Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online30/06/2020
Date accepted by journal09/06/2020
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/31308
eISSN1471-2296
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