Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 328–334

A Cross-Sectional Study Examining Australian General Practitioners’ Identification of Overweight and Obese Patients

Authors

    • Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour and Hunter Medical Research InstituteThe University of Newcastle
  • Mariko Leanne Carey
    • Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour and Hunter Medical Research InstituteThe University of Newcastle
  • Robert William Sanson-Fisher
    • Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour and Hunter Medical Research InstituteThe University of Newcastle
  • Catherine Anne D’Este
    • Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour and Hunter Medical Research InstituteThe University of Newcastle
    • Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Hunter Medical Research InstituteUniversity of Newcastle
  • Lisa Mackenzie
    • Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour and Hunter Medical Research InstituteThe University of Newcastle
  • Allison Boyes
    • Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour and Hunter Medical Research InstituteThe University of Newcastle
Original Research

DOI: 10.1007/s11606-013-2637-4

Cite this article as:
Yoong, S.L., Carey, M.L., Sanson-Fisher, R.W. et al. J GEN INTERN MED (2014) 29: 328. doi:10.1007/s11606-013-2637-4

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND

Overweight and obese patients attempt weight loss when advised to do so by their physicians; however, only a small proportion of these patients report receiving such advice. One reason may be that physicians do not identify their overweight and obese patients.

OBJECTIVES

We aimed to determine the extent that Australian general practitioners (GP) recognise overweight or obesity in their patients, and to explore patient and GP characteristics associated with non-detection of overweight and obesity.

METHODS

Consenting adult patients (n = 1,111) reported weight, height, demographics and health conditions using a touchscreen computer. GPs (n = 51) completed hard-copy questionnaires indicating whether their patients were overweight or obese. We calculated the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) for GP detection, using patient self-reported weight and height as the criterion measure for overweight and obesity. For a subsample of patients (n = 107), we did a sensitivity analysis with patient-measured weight and height. We conducted an adjusted, multivariable logistic regression to explore characteristics associated with non-detection, using random effects to adjust for correlation within GPs.

RESULTS

Sensitivity for GP assessment was 63 % [95 % CI 57–69 %], specificity 89 % [95 % CI 85–92 %], PPV 87 % [95 % CI 83–90 %] and NPV 69 % [95 % CI 65–72 %]. Sensitivity increased by 3 % and specificity was unchanged in the sensitivity analysis. Men (OR: 1.7 [95 % CI 1.1–2.7]), patients without high blood pressure (OR: 1.8 [95 % CI 1.2–2.8]) and without type 2 diabetes (OR: 2.4 [95 % CI 1.2–8.0]) had higher odds of non-detection. Individuals with obesity (OR: 0.1 [95 % CI 0.07–0.2]) or diploma-level education (OR: 0.3 [95%CI 0.1–0.6]) had lower odds of not being identified. No GP characteristics were associated with non-detection of overweight or obesity.

CONCLUSIONS

GPs missed identifying a substantial proportion of overweight and obese patients. Strategies to support GPs in identifying their overweight or obese patients need to be implemented.

KEY WORDS

overweightobesitygeneral practicefamily physicianvalidityadd detectionrisk factor assessment

Supplementary material

11606_2013_2637_MOESM1_ESM.docx (13 kb)
ESM 1(DOCX 13.3 kb)

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2013