Feasibility and acceptability of a physician-delivered weight management programme

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Abstract

Background.

Primary health care requires new approaches to assist patients with overweight and obesity. This is a particular concern for patients with limited access to specialist or allied health services due to financial cost or location. The Change Program is a toolkit that provides a structured approach for GPs working with patients on weight management.

Objective.

To assess the acceptability and feasibility of a GP-delivered weight management programme.

Methods.

A feasibility trial in five Australian general practices with 12 GPs and 23 patients. Mixed methods were used to assess the objective through participant interviews, online surveys and the NOrmalization MeAsure Development (NoMAD) tool based on Normalization Process Theory. Content analysis of interviews is presented alongside Likert scales, free text and the NoMAD tool.

Results.

The Change Program was acceptable to most GPs and patients. It was best suited to patient–GP dyads where the patient felt a strong preference for GP involvement. Patients’ main concerns were the time and possible cost associated with the programme if run outside a research setting. For sustainable implementation, it would have been preferable to recruit a whole practice rather than single GPs to enable activation of systems to support the programme.

Conclusion.

A GP-delivered weight management programme is feasible and acceptable for patients with obesity in Australian primary health care. The addition of this structured toolkit to support GPs is particularly important for patients with a strong preference for GP involvement or who are unable to access other resources due to cost or location.

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