Combating the obesity epidemic: community pharmacists' counseling on obesity management

Ann Pharmacother. 2004 Nov;38(11):1800-4. doi: 10.1345/aph.1E205. Epub 2004 Sep 21.


Background: Obesity is reaching an epidemic proportion in the US. Nearly two-thirds (64.7%) of US adults are overweight or obese. Given the myriad of issues related to the management of obesity, community pharmacists can facilitate weight loss among their patients.

Objective: To identify factors that influence the frequency of counseling obese patients by community pharmacists.

Methods: A mail survey was sent to a random sample of 400 Texas community pharmacists. The questionnaire collected information on frequency of counseling obese patients, perceived comfort level with counseling obese patients, perceived effectiveness of various obesity treatments, and perceived confidence in achieving positive outcomes as a result of counseling. Demographic information was also collected. Descriptive statistics, correlational analyses, and t-tests were used to examine the data.

Results: A usable response rate of 35.2% was obtained (139 completed surveys out of 395 assumed delivered). Overall, pharmacists counseled patients rarely to sometimes about various aspects of obesity management. Correlational analyses revealed that pharmacists' frequency of counseling about obesity management was significantly and positively associated with their comfort level with counseling obese patients (r = 0.47; p < 0.001). Higher levels of confidence in achieving positive outcomes as a result of counseling (r = 0.39; p < 0.001) and higher levels of perceived effectiveness of obesity management options (r = 0.18; p = 0.037) were also significantly associated with higher levels of counseling about obesity management.

Conclusions: Obesity counseling by pharmacists was positively correlated with their perceived comfort with counseling obese patients, confidence in achieving positive outcomes, and effectiveness of obesity management options.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Community Pharmacy Services*
  • Counseling / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Texas / epidemiology