THE MOST PREVALENT PERCEIVED BARRIERS TO EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION OF OBESITY MANAGEMENT: A SURVEY OF PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIANS
Background: Obesity has been recognized by most physicians and some public as a chronic disease associated with increased risk of several health-related complications that could necessitate medical interventions.
Study Design: A cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey was used to assess experiences and knowledge of primary care physicians towards current guidelines for management of obesity and to explore possible barriers for optimal obesity management.
Result: 91 physicians were recruited into this study, 32 were family medicine (FM) and 59 were internal medicine (IM). Analysis of data revealed an overall overweight with mean BMI of 26.8 ± 5.8 kg/m2. No significant difference was found between BMIs or age groups of FM and IM physicians. Although, 96.7% of participants recognized risks associated with obesity, only 9.9% believed in the feasibility of obesity treatment. The main perceived causes of obesity by physicians were junk foods and sedentary lifestyle. A number of barriers to optimal management of obesity were identified by participants, which are not only limited to the lack of compliance of obese individuals to weight loss strategies but also to insufficient training of physicians to manage and treat obesity. Moreover, 47.4% of physicians displayed substantial knowledge deficits for obesity medications, which was significantly prominent among IM physicians (p-value = 0.005).
Conclusion: The significant higher level of knowledge demonstrated by FM physicians could be attributed to their higher professional degrees and/or longer practice years. Therefore, it is pivotal to improve knowledge and awareness of primary care physicians by providing adequate training to overcome barriers for effective implementation of obesity management guidelines.Keywords: Obesity, Management, Family medicine, Internal medicine, Barriers