Knowledge, attitudes and practices of general practitioners in southeastern France ; results of a telephone survey
Objective To describe the current knowledge, attitudes, and practices of French general practitioners (GPs) in the field of child and adult overweight and obesity management.
Methods A cross-sectional telephone survey interviewed a sample of 600 GPs, representative of the population of private GPs in southeastern France. A three-part questionnaire assessed attitudes and opinions about overweight and obesity, knowledge and training in this field, and practices (diagnostic methods, standard weight loss objectives, types of counseling).
Results Most GPs (90.2%) regarded obesity as a disease requiring long-term management (99.5%), and 79% agreed that managing these problems is part of their role. Nevertheless, 58 and 66% did not feel they perform this role effectively for their adult patients and for children and teenagers, respectively. Approximately 30% had negative attitudes towards overweight and obese patients. Most practices followed the guidelines relatively closely. Nevertheless, 60% often set weight loss objectives more demanding than guidelines call for; neither food diaries nor nutritional education were used systematically; 55% often forbade children and teenagers to eat specific foods.
Discussion These results, which were based on GPs’ declarations, revealed the existence of a gap between theory and practice in the field of obesity management: GPs felt responsible for but ineffective in this management. Their feelings of ineffectiveness may be furthered by the underlying disagreement in the attitudes of practitioner and patient towards weight problems and the ensuing difficulties in their relationship.
© 2005 Elsevier Masson SAS. Tous droits réservés.