BACKGROUND: Obesity and being overweight are both significant risk factors for multiple chronic conditions. Primary care physicians are in a position to provide health behavior counseling to the majority of US adults, yet most report insufficient training to deliver effective counseling for obesity.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the degree to which residents training in adult primary care programs are prepared to provide obesity, nutrition, and physical activity (ONPA) counseling.
METHODS: Senior residents (postgraduate year [PGY]-3 and PGY-4) from 25 Ohio family medicine, internal medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology programs were surveyed regarding their knowledge about obesity risks and effective counseling, as well as their attitudes, self-efficacy, and perceived professional norms toward ONPA counseling. We examined summary scores, and used regression analyses to assess associations with resident demographics and training program characteristics.
RESULTS: A total of 219 residents participated (62% response rate). Mean ONPA counseling knowledge score was 50.8 (± 15.6) on a 0 to 100 scale. Specialty was associated with counseling self-efficacy (P < .001) and perceived norms (P = .002). Residents who reported having engaged in an elective rotation emphasizing ONPA counseling had significantly higher self-efficacy and more positive attitudes and professional norms scores.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that primary care residents' knowledge of ONPA assessment and management strategies has room for improvement. Attitudes, self-efficacy, and perceived norms also are low and vary by training program characteristics. A deeper understanding of curricula associated with improved performance in these domains could inform interventions to enhance residents' ONPA counseling skills and prevent chronic disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas