Objective: Obesity has become a public health epidemic in adults and children. Clinician practices need new models to effectively address overweight in patients, yet, practices lack time and resources. We tested a clinician-delivered intervention that utilized community resources for in-depth counseling for unhealthy behaviors including overweight.
Methods: Eligible patients in nine primary care practices were identified using an electronic linkage system (eLinkS) which also automated patient referrals to group (Weight Watcher's), telephone counseling (TC), or usual care. Pre/post-survey data were used to assess factors related to counseling choices as well as changes in BMI (kg/m(2)) and weight-related behaviors using descriptive statistics, unadjusted, and adjusted statistical analyses.
Results: Study sample (n=146) was 70% female with a mean age of 57 years. More patients (57%) selected WW, followed by usual care (27%) or TC (16%). Age, gender, clinician recommendation, and counseling program characteristics were influential in counseling selections. Weight Watcher's participants and those in TC, reported statistically significant weight loss, WW participants also reported significant increases in fruit/vegetable intake; after 4 months compared with usual care.
Conclusions: This practice-based intervention utilizing community counseling referrals was associated with positive health behavior change.
Practice implications: Identifying influential factors related to patient weight counseling choices may help guide referrals to community programs.
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