International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 447–454 | Cite as

Weight management in community pharmacy: what do the experts think?

  • Irene S. Um
  • Carol Armour
  • Ines Krass
  • Timothy Gill
  • Betty B. ChaarEmail author
Research Article


Background The increasing prevalence of obesity and overweight adults creates a significant public health burden and there is great potential for pharmacists to be involved in the provision of weight management services, other than the mundane supply of commercial products. In order to provide optimal services that can be integrated into the healthcare system, a best practice model for weight management services in community pharmacy should be in place. We sought experts’ and key stakeholders’ opinions on this matter. Objectives (1) To identify components of a best practice model of a weight management service feasible in Australian community pharmacy. (2) To identify the role of pharmacists and the training requirements to up-skill pharmacists to competently provide weight management services. (3) To elicit any practical suggestions that would contribute to successful implementation of weight management services in pharmacy. Setting Australian primary care sector. Method Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 12 participants including Australian experts in obesity and representatives of main Australian professional organisations in pharmacy. Interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim and thematically analysed using the framework approach. Main outcome measure Recommended components of pharmacy-based weight management services and training requirements. Results Participants perceived two potential roles for pharmacists involved in weight management: health promotion and individualised service. Multi-component interventions targeting all three areas: diet, physical activity and behaviour change were emphasised. Physical assessment (e.g. weight, waist circumference measurements), goal setting, referral to allied healthcare professionals and on-going support for weight maintenance were also proposed. Participants suggested pharmacists should undergo formal training and identified various training topics to improve pharmacists’ knowledge, attributes and skills to acquire competencies necessary for delivery of this service. Some physical and financial barriers in providing these services were also identified including infrastructure, pharmacists’ time and cost-effectiveness. Conclusion Pharmacists are well-positioned to promote healthy weight and/or implement weight management interventions. Furthering pharmacists’ role would involve training and up-skilling; and addressing key practice change facilitators such as pharmacy layout and remuneration. This study provides some insight into the design and implementation of a best practice model for pharmacy-based weight management services in Australia.


Australia Community pharmacy Competencies Obesity Patient counselling Pharmacist training Weight management 



The Author(s) would like to thank the participants who took part in this study.


The Authors declare that no external funding has been obtained for the study.

Conflicts of interest

The Author(s) declare(s) that they have no conflicts of interest to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irene S. Um
    • 1
  • Carol Armour
    • 2
  • Ines Krass
    • 1
  • Timothy Gill
    • 3
  • Betty B. Chaar
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculty of PharmacyThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.The Woolcock Institute of Medical ResearchSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders, Sydney Medical SchoolThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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