George Morris, III, MD, chair of the Wisconsin Medical Society’s Council on Health Care Quality and Population Health, presented at the 142nd American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting and Exposition in New Orleans, Nov. 15-19. Doctor Morris’ presentation, Wisconsin Physician Survey on Diagnosis and Treatment of Obesity, reported the results of an e-mail survey sent to all Society members regarding their knowledge, perceptions and practices of obesity management.
Five hundred ninety physicians responded to the survey. Nineteen percent reported feeling embarrassment about discussing obesity and patient factors, while 15 percent reported failing to document their patient’s obesity due to lack of pertinence to the visit. Time spent readdressing the issue of obesity at subsequent patient visits was six minutes or less for 77 percent of the respondents, but only 12 percent reported always or sometimes making referrals to dietitians and bariatric surgeons. Fourteen percent of respondents were optimistic about their patient’s sustained weight loss, but only 7 percent believed they have been successful at treating obesity. Training in obesity management was reported to have occurred in 6 percent of the respondents’ medical school experiences and 10 percent of the respondents’ residency training.
Doctor Morris called for improving the effectiveness of physician obesity interventions by providing training in obesity management during medical school and residency, reducing the barriers to documentation and improving access to obesity treatment.
The APHA’s annual meeting attracts 12,000 public health professionals every year to convene, learn, network and engage with peers to strengthen the profession, share latest research, promote best practices and advocate for public health issues and policies grounded in research.
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