Current Knowledge of Obesity Treatment Guidelines by Health Care Professionals

Monique Turner, Nichole Jannah, Scott Kahan, Christine Gallagher, William Dietz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The objective of this study was to assess health care professionals' knowledge of evidence-based guidelines for the nonsurgical treatment of obesity. Methods: A nationally representative sample of internists, family practitioners, obstetricians/gynecologists, and nurse practitioners completed a web-based survey between June 9 and July 1, 2016 (n = 1,506). Results: Only 16% of respondents indicated that obesity counseling should be provided approximately twice monthly in an individual or group setting for at least 6 months, in accordance with United States Preventive Services Task Force and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services guidelines. Only 15% of respondents identified BMI ≥ 27 kg/m2 with an obesity-associated comorbid condition as the appropriate indication to prescribe pharmacotherapy for patients. Two-thirds of respondents indicated that it is appropriate to continue long-term pharmacotherapy under conditions inconsistent with evidence-based guidelines, with nearly one-quarter indicating that obesity medications should never be prescribed beyond 3 months regardless of weight loss. Conclusions: These findings suggest that provider understanding of appropriate clinical care for obesity is inconsistent with evidence-based recommendations. As coverage for behavioral counseling services and pharmacotherapy expands, it is imperative that health care professionals understand how to effectively leverage these treatment modalities to optimize health outcomes for patients with obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-671
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Current Knowledge of Obesity Treatment Guidelines by Health Care Professionals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this