Purpose: Most adults in the United States are overweight. Physician counseling on weight management is a recommended intervention for overweight patients. The purpose of this study was to describe the attitudes, perceptions, and barriers of faculty clinicians and chiropractic students toward the discussion of weight-management with overweight and obese patients.
Methods: Three focus groups were conducted; 1 consisted of faculty clinicians (n=4) and 2 included 8th-10th-trimester student interns (n=8). Focus groups were audio-recorded while researchers took field notes, and focus group participants were debriefed immediately following the discussion to confirm accuracy of field notes. Audio-recordings were transcribed verbatim and participant information was de-identified. Data were analyzed using thematic content analysis by 2 researchers and other researchers verified data interpretation.
Results: Participants noted many challenges to providing chiropractic treatments to overweight patients. Four themes on discussing weight management with these patients emerged: 1) perceptions about obesity, 2) soft-approach techniques, 3) barriers to discussing weight, and 4) the professional responsibility of chiropractors in weight management. Faculty clinicians and interns expected patients to initiate conversations about weight management with their chiropractors. When weight management was discussed, participants offered indirect suggestions for small-scale lifestyle changes, rather than directly addressing the need for weight loss with their patients. Participants identified the sensitive topic of obesity and fears of losing patients as barriers to discussing weight management.
Conclusion: Chiropractors may require further training in applying prevailing models of behavior modification and weight management counseling to overcome barriers to discussing weight management with their overweight patients.
This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher. Click on the above link for free full text. Link to PDF version