Attitudes and knowledge about weight management among primary care physicians in Israel: a cross-sectional study

Keren Or Unger Freinkel, Ilan Yehoshua, Bar Cohen, Roni Peleg, Limor Adler

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background: The prevalence of obesity has been increasing worldwide and is associated with increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Weight management can reduce the risk of complications and improve the quality of life of patients with obesity. This study explored primary care physicians’ (PCPs’) attitudes and knowledge about weight management. Methods: An anonymous questionnaire was distributed to 400 PCPs between 2020 and 2021. The survey included questions on treatment approaches (pharmaceutical and surgical) and items regarding the respondents’ demographic characteristics. We compared PCPs with low or high proactivity toward weight management. We explored attitudes and knowledge with the chi-square test for categorical variables or the Mann-Whitney test for continuous variables. Results: A total of 145 PCPs answered our survey (a response rate of 36.25%). More than half (53.8%) of the respondents showed low proactivity toward weight management in their practice. Proactive respondents were more likely to believe that pharmaceutical treatment effectively reduces weight and offered medical and surgical treatment options more frequently to their patients. Lack of knowledge was the most predominant reason for PCPs avoiding offering treatment to their patients, especially in less proactive PCPs (33.3% vs. 5.3%, p-value < 0.001). When comparing different pharmaceutical options, 46.6% of PCPs report they tend to prescribe liraglutide to their patients compared with only 11% who prescribe orlistat and 10.3% who prescribe phentermine (p-value < 0.001). Conclusions: Many PCPs still do not actively provide obesity treatment despite improved awareness and therapeutic options. PCPs’ proactivity and attitudes are vital to this effort.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number92
    JournalBMC Primary Care
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - 1 Dec 2024


    • Attitudes
    • Knowledge
    • Obesity
    • Pharmaceutical treatment
    • Primary care physicians
    • Weight management

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Family Practice


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