A number of previous studies have been conducted to gain knowledge about changing the behaviour of PHC providers in relation to promoting weight reduction in obese patients. These have included studies on an electronic linkage system to automate patient referrals, the creation of a community health educator referral liaison officer, and professional training and organisational shared-care interventions. Despite the information gained from such research, there remains a gap in knowledge about how to change the behaviour of health professionals to promote weight reduction in obese patients.
We conducted three studies that aimed to help address this knowledge gap and answer specific questions about weight management in general practice. The studies and their questions were,
- The Costs Study: What is the cost-effectiveness of increasing assessment of obesity and other risk factors for chronic disease?
- The Referral Study: What are the barriers to the referral of obese patients to specialist services for GPs?
- The Practice Nurse Study: How feasible is it for practice nurses (PNs) in Australia to deliver a structured weight management program that had been developed and shown to be effective in the UK (the Counterweight Program)?
This report provides a brief overview of the background, methods and results of each study. All studies obtained appropriate ethical approvals. The implications of the program of research are then discussed in the final section of this report. The Referral Study has been published, and papers on the other two studies have been submitted. Readers who would like more information than provided in this report can view those papers as they become available.