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Medical trainees’ weight management recommendations and goals for patients of different genders, weights, and ethnicities

1 January 2015


Obesity has become a global health concern. Health professionals are on the front lines of helping patients engage in healthy weight management behaviors. However, health professionals have cited that they do not have enough time and training to assist patients with managing weight and lifestyle choices. Previous research indicates that health professionals may often provide vague weight loss recommendations and unrealistic weight loss goals for patients. The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of medical trainees’ views of obesity, such as recommended weight loss goals and attitudes towards providing recommended interventions to obese patients, with attention being specifically directed toward ethnicity and gender factors. Through an anonymous web-based survey consisting of 31 adult medical trainees, results indicate medical trainees are suggesting weight loss goals that are likely unattainable for many overweight/obese patients. Additionally, it appears that medical trainees are recommending that female patients lose more weight than male patients. Results did not indicate that ethnicity mediated participants’ weight loss recommendations, goals, and attitudes in this study. Given the limited sample size and reduced power to detects differences further research in this area is suggested. Recommendations from these findings include more in-depth training for medical trainees regarding realistic of weight loss expectations. Additionally, medical training likely needs to address gender bias in regards to weight loss.


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