12/28/2012 10:46 am ET

Doctors Lack Confidence In Treating Obesity, Study Suggests


By Jaimie Dalessio

Primary care doctors admit nutritionists and dietitians are better suited to treat obesity, according to a new study.

Only 44 percent of primary care physicians surveyed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore reported success helping obese patients lose weight. Newer physicians expressed more confidence in treating obesity, but regardless of when they completed medical school the doctors reported a need for additional training. Nutrition counseling and practiced-based changes — such as including body-mass index (BMI) as a vital sign and diet and exercise tips in patients' charts — would help, they reported.

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Johns Hopkins researchers conducted the survey of 500 general practitioners, family practitioners, and general internists nationwide in 2011.

"In order to begin improving obesity care, medical education should focus on enhancing those obesity-related skills primary care physicians feel most qualified to deliver, as well as changing the composition of health care teams and practice resources," said lead study author Sara Bleich, PhD, in a release from the Bloomberg School.

The findings were published Thursday in the journal BMJ Open.

"Doctors Lack Confidence In Treating Obesity" originally appeared on Everyday Health.


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