Interaction between patient and general practitioner according to the patient body weight: a cross-sectional survey

Fam Pract. 2023 Mar 28;40(2):218-225. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmac086.


Objective: To analyse whether patient-general practitioner (GP) interaction, measured by their disagreement, varies among overweight or obese patients compared with normal-weight patients.

Methods: Twenty-seven GPs and 585 patients participated in the quantitative phase of the multidisciplinary INTERMEDE project and answered "mirrored" questionnaires collecting both GPs and patients' perceptions on information and advice given at the end of the consultation. Multilevel logistic regressions were performed to explore associations between patient body mass index (BMI) and patient-GP disagreement on information and advice given during the consultation.

Results: Disagreement increased with the patients' excess weight, and it was particularly pronounced for advice given by GPs on weight and lifestyle issues. Compared with patients with a "normal" BMI, overweight patients were more likely to disagree with their GP regarding advice given on weight loss (odds ratio [OR] = 10.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 4.1-27.3), advice given on doing more physical activity (OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.1-3.4), and nutritional advice (OR = 2.9, 95% CI = 1.5-5.6).

Conclusion: These disagreements could degrade the quality of patient-physician relationship. Our study provides an opportunity for GPs to reflect on how they communicate with overweight and obese patients, particularly with regard to lifestyle and weight-related advice and interventions taking into account the patient's representations.

Keywords: doctor–patient relationship; obesity; obesity management; primary care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise
  • General Practitioners*
  • Humans
  • Obesity
  • Overweight*