Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 328–334 | Cite as

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

  • Sze Lin Yoong
  • Mariko Leanne Carey
  • Robert William Sanson-Fisher
  • Catherine Anne D’Este
  • Lisa Mackenzie
  • Allison Boyes
Original Research

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

overweight obesity general practice family physician validity add detection risk factor assessment 

Supplementary material

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

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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sze Lin Yoong
    • 1
  • Mariko Leanne Carey
    • 1
  • Robert William Sanson-Fisher
    • 1
  • Catherine Anne D’Este
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lisa Mackenzie
    • 1
  • Allison Boyes
    • 1
  1. 1.Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour and Hunter Medical Research InstituteThe University of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Hunter Medical Research InstituteUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia

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