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Improvement of Overweight and Obesity Screening and Intervention in Primary Care

Background: Obesity is a chronic health condition, resulting in significant morbidity and mortality, and is inadequately managed and treated in primary care. The Obesity Pathway is an organization-specific algorithm for providers to treat patients with obesity. Purpose: To improve provider use of an Obesity Pathway in a primary care clinic and to increase the screening and intervention of all adult patients with overweight or obese status. Methods: The Obesity Pathway was reviewed with primary care providers as well as best practices for weight management, obesity bias and stigma. The NEW Attitudes Scale and satisfaction surveys were completed by providers before and after the training to assess knowledge, attitudes, barriers, and usability. The number of patients referred to nutrition or weight loss services during the project timeframe was also reviewed. Results: Five providers responded to initial surveys; four providers responded to the NEW Attitudes Scale and two providers responded to the post-evaluation surveys. Providers did not report using the Obesity Pathway often in their practice. Providers reported overall positive attitudes toward obesity on the NEW Attitudes Scale, with improvements on post-intervention survey. Approximately, 2.4% of patients with overweight/obesity were referred to nutrition or weight loss services during the project timeframe. Conclusion: The Obesity Pathway must be more accessible to increase use and improve outcomes. Provider pessimism on weight management is evident despite overall positive attitudes, and reflects findings in the literature. Future research is needed to improve the screening and intervention of all patients with overweight/obesity in primary care.