Attitudes of General Practitioner Registrars and Their Trainers Toward Obesity Prevention in Adults

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Obesity prevalence in developed countries is around 25% and rising. Prevention is beginning to receive attention. In the United Kingdom, general practice provides services to most of the population; on average, a patient is seen 4 times a year. Doctors’ attitudes toward obesity prevention have not been well documented. Objectives: Obtain doctors’ views toward obesity prevention and determine any differences between registrars and their trainers. Methods: During 2006-2007, a postal questionnaire was sent to all general practitioner registrars in Scotland and their trainers. The questions included individual details, opinions about current obesity prevention strategies, and facts about current obesity prevention practices. Results: Of those targeted (103 registrars, 91 trainers), 51% responded, representing 5% of all general practitioners in Scotland. Most agreed obesity and its prevention were important. However, more experienced practitioners were less convinced as to whether primary care could or should help with obesity prevention. Individual change was viewed as important, whereas primary care screening was of least importance. Conclusion: As the largest survey on doctors’ attitudes about obesity prevention, these results indicate that obesity and its prevention are important but that there are concerns and differences between registrars and trainers, in that trainers are more neutral about their agreement. A multifaceted approach building on current good practices of general practitioners with support from other specialty care providers may help to minimize the risk of alienation, fear, and resistance to primary care involvement for both treatment and prevention of obesity. However, resources and training would be necessary, along with methods to protect the doctor/patient relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-186
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Primary Care and Community Health
Issue number3
Early online date7 Apr 2011
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


  • general practice
  • obesity
  • prevention
  • attitudes


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