Purpose: This study explores how weight-related topics are discussed between physicians and their overweight and obese female patients.
Methods: We surveyed and audio-recorded preventive health and chronic care visits with 25 overweight and obese female patients. We coded both for quantity (content and time) of weight-related discussions and quality (adherence to Motivational Interviewing [MI] techniques). We then tested correlations of these measures with patients' reported attempts to lose weight, change diet, and change exercise patterns 1 month after the visit.
Results: Weight was routinely addressed (19 of 25 encounters). Patients usually initiated the topic (67% of time). Physicians' use of MI techniques resulted in patients attempting to lose weight and changing their exercise patterns.
Conclusion: Physicians may benefit from MI training to help patients lose weight.