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Old 08-28-2009, 03:38 PM   #1
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Default BMC Health Services Study - Physicians' attitudes about obesity

Found this research article posted while looking for something else and thought it was interesting. I copied the abstract with citations properly I believe, the entire article is linked below.


BMC Health Services Research
Research article Open Access

Physicians' attitudes about obesity and their associations with
competency and specialty: A cross-sectional study
Melanie Jay*1, Adina Kalet1, Tavinder Ark1, Michelle McMacken1,
Mary Jo Messito2, Regina Richter1, Sheira Schlair1, Scott Sherman1,3,
Sondra Zabar1 and Colleen Gillespie1
Address: 1Division of General Internal Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY USA, 2Department of Pediatrics, New
York University School of Medicine, New York, NY USA and 3VA New York Harbor Healthcare System, New York, NY USA
Email: Melanie Jay* - [email protected]; Adina Kalet - [email protected]; Tavinder Ark - [email protected];
Michelle McMacken - [email protected]; Mary Jo Messito - [email protected];
Regina Richter - [email protected]; Sheira Schlair - [email protected]; Scott Sherman - [email protected];
Sondra Zabar - [email protected]; Colleen Gillespie - [email protected]
* Corresponding author

Physicians frequently report negative attitudes about obesity which is thought to affect
patient care. However, little is known about how attitudes toward treating obese patients are formed. We
conducted a cross-sectional survey of physicians in order to better characterize their attitudes and explore
the relationships among attitudes, perceived competency in obesity care, including report of weight loss
in patients, and other key physician, training, and practice characteristics.
Methods: We surveyed all 399 physicians from internal medicine, pediatrics, and psychiatry specialties at
one institution regarding obesity care attitudes, competency, including physician report of percent of their
patients who lose weight. We performed a factor analysis on the attitude items and used hierarchical
regression analysis to explore the degree to which competency, reported weight loss, physician, training
and practice characteristics explained the variance in each attitude factor.
Results: The overall response rate was 63%. More than 40% of physicians had a negative reaction towards
obese patients, 56% felt qualified to treat obesity, and 46% felt successful in this realm. The factor analysis
revealed 4 factors–Physician Discomfort/Bias, Physician Success/Self Efficacy, Positive Outcome Expectancy, and
Negative Outcome Expectancy. Competency and reported percent of patients who lose weight were most
strongly associated with the Physician Success/Self Efficacy attitude factor. Greater skill in patient assessment
was associated with less Physician Discomfort/Bias. Training characteristics were associated with outcome
expectancies with newer physicians reporting more positive treatment expectancies. Pediatric faculty was
more positive and psychiatry faculty less negative in their treatment expectancies than internal medicine
Conclusion: Physician attitudes towards obesity are associated with competency, specialty, and years
since postgraduate training. Further study is necessary to determine the direction of influence and to
explore the impact of these attitudes on patient care.
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Old 09-12-2009, 11:37 PM   #2
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Hmmm ... Did we really need a study to confirm what we already know? I've heard tons of horror stories from people about how they were treated by doctors - to include blaming any complaint on their weight and not taking them seriously. Personally I've taken to taking my husband along with me to any and all appointments (I have several specialists) - seems if he's in the room they don't try to blame stuff on the weight!
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