Obesity management by general practitioners: the unavoidable necessity

Aust J Prim Health. 2015;21(4):366-8. doi: 10.1071/PY15018.


Nearly 62% of primary care patients are overweight or obese, and obesity is now a National Health Priority Area. Weight management interventions in primary care currently generate little more than 1 kg of weight loss per patient over a 2-year period. Consequently, further strategies are required to improve the effectiveness of weight management in primary care. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) have released updated guidelines for the management of overweight and obese patients in primary care. However, there is some disconnect between establishment of guidelines and their implementation in practice. Barriers to GPs using guidelines for the management of obesity include low self-efficacy, perceived insufficient time in consultations and the challenge of raising the topic of a patient's weight. Nonetheless, patients prefer to receive weight management support from GPs rather than other health professionals, suggesting that the demand on GPs to support patients in weight management will continue. GPs cannot afford to side-line obesity management, as obesity is likely to be the most prevalent modifiable risk factor associated with patients' long-term health. Without further strategies to support GPs in their management of patients' weight, obesity will continue to be an expensive and long-term public health issue.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Australia
  • General Practitioners*
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Humans
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Patient Preference
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires