Primary care providers' communication with patients during weight counseling: A focus group study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Primary care providers (PCPs) are encouraged to counsel their obese patients about weight loss. We used focus groups to explore how PCPs communicate with patients about weight management. Methods: During the summer of 2010, we conducted five focus groups of community-based PCPs who had patients enrolled in a practice-based, randomized controlled weight loss trial in Maryland. Focus groups were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Two investigators independently coded transcripts for thematic content using editing style analysis. Results: Twenty-six PCPs from six different practices participated. Mean years in practice were 16.4 (SD 11.7) and 77% practiced internal medicine. We identified three communication-based themes about weight loss counseling: (1) motivating patients to lose weight, (2) partnering with the patient to achieve weight loss, and (3) handling challenges that arise during weight counseling. Conclusion: PCPs use a variety of strategies to communicate with their patients about weight loss. Some PCPs already use patient-centered approaches to communicate with their patients about weight loss, suggesting that future weight counseling interventions should be tailored to build upon this strength. Practice implications: PCPs' weight loss counseling may be improved by using techniques with demonstrated behavior change effectiveness such as the 5A's or motivational interviewing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-157
Number of pages6
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Volume89
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2012

Keywords

  • Counseling
  • Focus groups
  • Obesity
  • Patient-provider communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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