"Unfortunately, other studies have shown that physicians do not conduct weight and weight-related counseling for the majority of their affected patients," Kraschnewski said. Evidence shows that counseling can help adults lose weight and keep it off.
The reasons for this drop are unclear, according to the researchers. Barriers for physicians to offer weight counseling include pessimism that patients can change, time limitations during appointments and thinking that their training for lifestyle counseling is inadequate.
"There are many additional competing demands in the outpatient care between study years, including an increase in chronic illnesses, a focus on quality improvement and use of electronic health records," Kraschnewski said. "Although visit duration has actually increased over the study time period, the number of items addressed during clinic visits has increased substantially more, suggesting less time is available to provide counseling."
Other reasons may be that counseling services are not reimbursed, the researchers said, or that as physicians see rising rates of obesity among their patients, they offer less counseling because of a perceived lack of success.
Kraschnewski said the lack of response to the obesity epidemic by primary care providers is a missed opportunity.
"Primary care has long been instrumental in significant public health successes such as decreased stroke and heart disease deaths due to the management of high blood pressure and high cholesterol," she said. "However, unlike these conditions, primary care providers lack effective tools to address the obesity epidemic."
Effective and easily implemented interventions to address weight counseling in the primary care setting are needed.
"PCPs serve on the frontlines of health care and must be actively e
|Contact: Matthew Solovey|