Indexed on: 01 Jun '05Published on: 01 Jun '05Published in: International Journal of Obesity
To document the attitudes and practices of French general practitioners (GPs) regarding obesity management.A cross-sectional survey of a randomly selected sample of 744 French GPs was conducted, of which 607 questionnaires were returned. The measures included views on weight management, definitions of success, approaches to and strategies recommended for weight management and prevention, problems, frustrations, and expectations in managing obesity.GPs have a high awareness of obesity as a medically relevant issue, with 90% of them considering it to be a disease. However, they are only 42% to consider themselves well prepared to manage obesity and 51% to find obesity management professionally rewarding. They are 66% to believe that only a small percentage of patients can lose weight and maintain that loss but have unrealistic goals, with only 20% of them considering weight maintenance as a success. They do not consider collaboration with other health professionals like dietitians as a priority. Only 34% of the GPs believe that the currently available drugs are effective. Their views regarding bariatric surgery are in agreement with the recommendations of international experts. Their main expectations regarding obesity management are to improve their professional intervention through formation, education and easy-to-use tools, rather than improving their collaboration with other health professionals.There remains considerable opportunity to improve GPs' practice in obesity management. Medical education, increased cooperation with dietitians, improved long-term follow-up, and implementing better use of the available documents are key issues.