Background: Physicians' awareness of their important role in defusing the obesity epidemic has increased. However, the number of family practitioners who treat obesity problems continues to be low. Self-efficacy refers to the belief in one's ability to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments. Thus, practitioners who judge themselves incapable of managing obesity do not even try. We hypothesized that practitioners' self-efficacy and motivation would be enhanced as a result of participating in an interactive course designed to enrich their knowledge of obesity management.
Methods: Twenty-nine family practitioners participated in the course, which was accompanied by qualitative interviews. The difference between the physicians' pre-course and post-course appraisals was tested by paired t-test. The interviews were analyzed by qualitative methods.
Results: Post-course efficacy appraisals were significantly higher than pre-course appraisals (p < 0.0005). A deeper insight on the practitioners' self-efficacy processes was gained through reflection of the practitioners on their self-efficacy during the interviews.
Conclusions: Up-to-date information and workshops where skills, attitudes and social support were addressed were important in making the program effective.