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Understanding Doctors’ Perception Of Management Of Obesity

Over 30% of people in the world are obese or overweight. Many clinical studies have proven that the majority of lifestyle diseases have been linked to obesity. Effective management will bring sustainable weight loss in obesity. A 10% reduction in the body weight of obese individuals is sufficient to significantly improve obesity-related health complications. Physicians play a vital role in the diagnosis and management of obesity.

Objective: Understanding doctors’ perception of management of obesity

A total of 244 doctors participated in the survey – General Practitioners (74%), Gynaecologists (9%) Pediatricians (9%), and Others (8%)

  1. Most of the doctors, 61% stated that they often come across patients with lifestyle disorders related to obesity

  2. A majority of doctors, 75% preferred to differentiate between overweight and obese individuals via BMI calculations

  3. A majority of doctors, 36% recommended an increase in physical activity and changes in diet to treat obesity

  4. A majority of doctors, 57% did not recommend the use of weight loss pills

  5. A majority of doctors, 53% responded that less physical activity is the major cause of obesity

  6. A majority of doctors, 36.7% stated that the patient’s lack of adherence to the fitness program is the major challenge in the treatment of obesity

Our survey revealed that a majority of doctors proposed changes in diet, along with increased physical activity and none of the physicians recommended surgical procedures to treat obesity. This might be due to a number of surgical complications arising out of the surgery. A majority of doctors did not recommend weight loss pills; however, about 37% of the recommended weight loss pills for the treatment of obesity.

Obesity disproportionately affects people with low socioeconomic status. Lack of adherence presents a significant challenge in the management of obesity. This might be due to slow weight loss, lack of access to healthy food or the costs associated with it, or loss of motivation over time. Implementing a system of rigorous follow-up might be helpful. Primary care physicians should use a multidisciplinary approach involving dieticians or nutritionists to manage a patient with obesity. This will ensure a better understanding and effective implementation of the weight-loss program. The essential aspect to control obesity is to focus on prevention. Primary care clinics should focus on identifying patients more susceptible to develop obesity and focus on prevention.

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