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Who discusses reaching a healthy weight with a general practitioner? Findings from the 2014-2015 Australian National Health Survey


Kilpatrick, M and Nelson, M and Palmer, A and Jose, K and Venn, A, Who discusses reaching a healthy weight with a general practitioner? Findings from the 2014-2015 Australian National Health Survey, Obesity Research and Clinical Practice, 12, (5) pp. 459-464. ISSN 1871-403X (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 Asia Oceania Association for the Study of Obesity

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.orcp.2018.07.003


Objective: General practitioners (GPs) can positively impact upon patient intentions to lose weight and weight management, and are important in the referral pathway to specialist weight-loss programs and surgical interventions. The aim of this study was to investigate the characteristics and proportions of Australians who report talking to a GP about weight management.

Methods: Cross-sectional data from 15,329 participants aged 15 years and over in the 2014-15 Australian National Health Survey were used. Proportions (with 95% confidence intervals (95%CI)) of respondents who reported discussing reaching a healthy weight with a GP in the previous 12 months were estimated, categorised by demographic, social and health characteristics.

Results: We found that 10.8% (95%CI:9.8-11.8) of overweight participants, 24.4% (95%CI:22.7-26.4) with Class 1 obesity (30≤BMI <35kg/m2) and 41.8% (95%CI:38.3-45.3) with Classes II/III obesity (BMI≥35kg/m2) reported discussing weight with a GP. Higher proportions of respondents with Class II/Class III obesity and poor/fair self-reported health (50.2%, 95%CI:43.3-57.0), or high/very high levels of psychological distress (53.3%, 95%CI:43.7-61.4), or diabetes (64.8%, 95%CI:51.9-77.3) reported discussing weight. As age, number of GP visits, or comorbid conditions increased, the proportions of people who discussed their weight with a GP also increased, across all weight classes.

Conclusions: While discussions are more likely with increasing BMI and comorbidities, most Australians with overweight and obesity appear to be missing opportunities to discuss reaching a healthy weight with their GP. Policies, training and education programs to encourage this dialogue could lead to earlier and more beneficial weight-related interventions.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:obesity, primary care, weight management
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Cardiovascular medicine and haematology
Research Field:Cardiology (incl. cardiovascular diseases)
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Kilpatrick, M (Dr Michelle Kilpatrick)
UTAS Author:Nelson, M (Professor Mark Nelson)
UTAS Author:Palmer, A (Professor Andrew Palmer)
UTAS Author:Jose, K (Dr Kim Jose)
UTAS Author:Venn, A (Professor Alison Venn)
ID Code:128421
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2018-09-20
Last Modified:2019-03-04

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