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Provider Views of the Feasibility and Utility of Lifestyle Obesity Treatment in Primary Care: Insights from the Think Health! Study

Etienne Phipps, Lisa Chacko, Jennifer Fassbender, Kelly Allison, David Sarwer, Samantha Wallace, Susan Tan-Torres, Marjorie Bowman, Thomas Wadden, Shiriki Kumanyika


Rationale:   Feasible approaches for providing obesity treatment in primary care settings have been difficult to identify. We assessed the views of primary care clinicians and practice staff about a simplified, lifestyle weight loss program after their participation in a randomized trial designed to evaluate the program within their clinical practices. 

Methods: Post-hoc interviews were conducted with 13 clinicians and 12 auxiliary staff at the 5 participating practices in the Think Health! Study of weight management in primary care.  A 13-item survey was used to guide semi-structured interviews about the perceived strengths, weakness, and potential long-term utility of the program. Responses were analyzed using descriptive statistics and qualitative methods.

Results:  Providers unanimously endorsed the need for weight loss counseling for their patients.  They supported the need for more frequent visits initially to best engage patients in a weight loss program.  Additional training in counseling skills was desired.

Conclusion:  Clinicians participating in a practice- based trial valued having weight loss materials available to share with patients.  Offering patient materials that convey key content and structure for behavior change tasks while allowing provider discretion in how materials are integrated into patient care might be a viable option for testing in future practice-based research. 

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