(HealthDay News) – Primary care physicians overwhelmingly support additional training and practice-based changes to improve obesity care in their practice, according to a study published online Dec. 20 in BMJ Open.

Sara N. Bleich, PhD, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues surveyed 500 primary care physicians using a national, online questionnaire. The response rate for the survey was 25.6%.

The researchers found that primary care physicians overwhelmingly supported additional training (such as nutrition counseling) and practice-based changes (such as having scales report body mass index) to help them improve their obesity care. Nutritionists/dietitians were identified as the most qualified providers to care for obese patients. Lack of information about good eating habits and lack of access to healthy food were more likely to be cited as important causes of obesity by physicians who completed medical school within the last 20 years. These physicians also reported feeling relatively more successful helping obese patients lose weight.

“Our results indicate a perceived need for improved medical education related to obesity care,” the authors write.

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