Milken Institute School of Public Health Poster Presentations (Marvin Center & Video)

Title

Current Knowledge of Obesity Treatment Guidelines by Healthcare Professionals

Poster Number

92

Document Type

Poster

Status

Graduate Student - Masters

Abstract Category

Prevention and Community Health

Keywords

obesity treatment; obesity knowledge; behavioral counseling; pharmacotherapy

Publication Date

4-2017

Abstract

Background:

Despite the high prevalence of obesity among U.S. adults, provision of recommended counseling and treatment modalities remains low. The primary objective of this study was to assess healthcare professionals’ (HCPs) beliefs and knowledge regarding current clinical guidelines for obesity treatment modalities.

Methods:

Primary care physicians (PCPs), obstetricians/gynecologists (OB/GYNs), and nurse practitioners (NPs) completed a web-based survey during June 2016. Respondents included a nationally-representative sample of U.S. medical professionals (n = 1,506) who were randomly selected to participate from SERMO’s Global Medical Panel (480 family practitioners; 523 internists; 250 OB/GYNs; 253 NPs). The 144-question DocStyles survey was administered by Porter Novelli Public Services and included eight obesity-specific questions developed by George Washington University researchers.

Results:

The majority of respondents (51%) did not recognize that the minimum level of physical activity for adults to achieve substantial health benefits is at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week. Only 16% of respondents correctly identified the USPSTF and guideline-recommended intensity of behavioral weight-loss counseling as approximately bi-monthly for at least six months. Only 15% of respondents correctly identified that BMI ≥ 27 kg/m2 is the appropriate indication threshold to prescribe obesity pharmacotherapy among patients with an obesity-associated comorbid condition. Fewer than one-third of respondents correctly identified when long-term pharmacotherapy is indicated, with nearly one-quarter responding that obesity medications should never be prescribed beyond three months of use, regardless of weight loss. PCPs were more likely than OB/GYNs or NPs to be familiar with the correct guidelines for pharmacotherapy.

Conclusions:

These findings suggest many HCPs are not familiar with the clinical guidelines for obesity management. Limited understanding of how or when to deliver evidence-based treatments prevents providers from effectively addressing obesity with their patients. As coverage for behavioral counseling services and pharmacotherapy expands, it is imperative that HCPs understand how to leverage these treatment modalities to support healthy weight management and improved health outcomes for patients with obesity. Comprehensive medical education on obesity treatments could increase HCP rates of behavioral counseling and pharmacotherapy.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Open Access

1

Comments

Poster to be presented at GW Annual Research Days 2017.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

Current Knowledge of Obesity Treatment Guidelines by Healthcare Professionals

Background:

Despite the high prevalence of obesity among U.S. adults, provision of recommended counseling and treatment modalities remains low. The primary objective of this study was to assess healthcare professionals’ (HCPs) beliefs and knowledge regarding current clinical guidelines for obesity treatment modalities.

Methods:

Primary care physicians (PCPs), obstetricians/gynecologists (OB/GYNs), and nurse practitioners (NPs) completed a web-based survey during June 2016. Respondents included a nationally-representative sample of U.S. medical professionals (n = 1,506) who were randomly selected to participate from SERMO’s Global Medical Panel (480 family practitioners; 523 internists; 250 OB/GYNs; 253 NPs). The 144-question DocStyles survey was administered by Porter Novelli Public Services and included eight obesity-specific questions developed by George Washington University researchers.

Results:

The majority of respondents (51%) did not recognize that the minimum level of physical activity for adults to achieve substantial health benefits is at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week. Only 16% of respondents correctly identified the USPSTF and guideline-recommended intensity of behavioral weight-loss counseling as approximately bi-monthly for at least six months. Only 15% of respondents correctly identified that BMI ≥ 27 kg/m2 is the appropriate indication threshold to prescribe obesity pharmacotherapy among patients with an obesity-associated comorbid condition. Fewer than one-third of respondents correctly identified when long-term pharmacotherapy is indicated, with nearly one-quarter responding that obesity medications should never be prescribed beyond three months of use, regardless of weight loss. PCPs were more likely than OB/GYNs or NPs to be familiar with the correct guidelines for pharmacotherapy.

Conclusions:

These findings suggest many HCPs are not familiar with the clinical guidelines for obesity management. Limited understanding of how or when to deliver evidence-based treatments prevents providers from effectively addressing obesity with their patients. As coverage for behavioral counseling services and pharmacotherapy expands, it is imperative that HCPs understand how to leverage these treatment modalities to support healthy weight management and improved health outcomes for patients with obesity. Comprehensive medical education on obesity treatments could increase HCP rates of behavioral counseling and pharmacotherapy.