Resident physician recognition of obesity and patient education in a family medicine residency clinic within an underserved community


Department of Family Medicine, Center for Urban Population Health, Aurora UW Medical Group

Presentation Notes

Presented at 2013 Aurora Scientific Day, Milwaukee, WI


Background/significance: Obesity is a major problem in Wisconsin. Primary Care Resident Physicians may not be taking the opportunity to address this medical condition and/or offering interventions.

Purpose: To assess Resident Physician recognition of obesity and acknowledgment as a medical problem and to further assess the action taken with regard to diet and lifestyle intervention.

Methods: A convenience sample of residents was selected and a brief survey was distributed to those selected at two Family Medicine residency clinics to increase awareness of patient obesity. For 8 weeks, participating residents completed the survey by writing the perceived weight, BMI, and weight category. They would add patient age, gender and resident gender prior to reviewing the patient’s vitals. After reviewing the vitals, the resident would then write the actual weight and BMI. A random chart review of 100 charts was completed pre- and post-survey for the participating and non-participating (control) groups to assess obesity recognition and intervention. Pre- and post-survey comparisons utilized chi-square test or Fisher exact for categorical variables and t-test or Mann Whitney test for continuous variables. Binary logistic regression was used for multivariate comparisons.

Results: There was no difference in estimated vs. actual BMI regarding patient or resident gender. As expected, BMI was a predictor of whether obesity was addressed. In the participating group there was an increased recognition of obesity among female patients (p= Conclusion: Although there was an increase in acknowledging obesity as a medical problem following an obesity-recognition exercise, there was no increase in intervention. This increase could be secondary to physicians outside of the study having encounters with patients and adding obesity as a problem or medical history. Quality improvement measures will need to be enforced in order to better patient health and outcomes. Specific educational materials targeted toward obesity, diet and lifestyle modifications will need to be created.

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