, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 341-347
Date: 20 Sep 2013

Brief Interventions for Weight Loss in Primary Care

Abstract

Overweight and obesity are common and important causes of chronic disease. This should mean that primary care physicians feel tackling obesity is important, but it is uncommon for them to do so. Physicians perceive that this is not their job; they fear offending their patients and are unclear what may be effective. In this review we found two systematic reviews showing that motivational interviewing can lead to effective weight loss but it may not be practicable in this setting. Two trials show referral to specially trained nurses in primary care appears ineffective. Several randomized trials show referral to commercial weight management companies is effective. Observational data but no trials suggest that screening for and opportunistic brief interventions may motivate attempts to lose weight and lead to some weight loss. We conclude there is insufficient evidence to promote treatment opportunistically but sufficient evidence to refer patients wanting to lose weight to commercial weight management services.