Weight management perceptions and clinical practices among gynaecology providers caring for reproductive-aged patients
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Objective Research suggests that patient and provider conversations about healthy eating and physical activity behaviours may lead to patients’ increased health behaviours, access to dietary and physical activity resources, and weight management. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) has a number of weight management intervention options, but it is unclear if providers have conversations about intervention options with their patients who are of reproductive age. The purpose of this work was to evaluate the degree to which gynaecology healthcare providers offer the weight management intervention options as recommended by ACOG. Methods Cross-sectional study of gynaecology providers in Southwest Virginia utilizing an electronic survey to identify weight management perceptions and current clinical practices. Responses were measured using quantitative methods, and agreeability and frequency responses were measured using a 5-point Likert scale. Results Twenty-three of the 31 eligible providers (74.2%) completed the survey. Providers acknowledge that patients need weight management discussions and they feel comfortable and are willing to have these discussions. While physical activity recommendations were consistent among providers, they did not reflect the complete physical activity recommendations for Americans. Consistency in dietary recommendations was lacking. Although providers make recommendations for physical activity and/or diet at least sometimes, they rarely utilize other methods of weight management as outlined in the ACOG recommendations, such as referrals to other providers, programmes or medications. Conclusions Areas for improvement in weight management practices include frequency of counselling, consistency in dietary counselling and frequency of utilization of weight loss medications and referrals to ancillary services. These results can be used to aid the development of methods for targeting these deficiencies.