Obesity Management in Primary Care Medicine: A Review of Obesity Perception and Barriers to Weight Loss
Background: This project addresses the obesity epidemic in America. According to the CDC, in 2018, the US obesity prevalence was 42.4%. Obesity is linked to many conditions including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Successfully treating obesity can decrease these leading causes of preventable and premature deaths. A proper understanding of the successes and failures of current obesity management in primary care medicine with the help of qualitative research through patient and provider interviews can elucidate the best practices to reduce the burden of disease in America.
Methods: A review of literature was conducted to assess the barriers to obesity management in primary care clinics using the chronic care model (CCM). Specific inclusion and exclusion criteria were used in gathering research papers published within the last 10 years from PubMed to find relevant literature using keywords including “perception of obesity” OR “barriers to obesity treatment.” Literature review of qualitative research papers and the creation of specific topics to focus on within obesity medicine was inspired by an interview guide created by the Mindful Choices Weight Loss Management Clinic in the Department of Family Medicine in UT Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas.
Results: The impact of the negative biases surrounding obesity in the health outcomes of obese individuals was compiled and discussed. Key findings from recent obesity literature include the positive association between a well-informed patient population and successful obesity management. Patient insight into their own disease as being a complex, chronic disease rather than a simple disease of “laziness” or “lack of will-power” had major implications in the success of treatment. Additionally, the existence of a medical provider obesity bias in addition to the failure to document patient’s obesity in medical charts as a result of an under detection of overweight patients was found to have a negative association with obesity management in primary care clinics.
Conclusion: This study provided insight into the patient perception of obesity and how negative biases to obesity can create barriers to obesity management in primary care medicine. This research highlights the importance of continued research in this field and the great potential of understanding obesity through the lens of the Chronic Care Model of Disease.
Syed, Asma and Siddiqui, Saima, "Obesity Management in Primary Care Medicine: A Review of Obesity Perception and Barriers to Weight Loss" (2022). MEDI 8127 Scholarly Activities Pre-Clerkship. 26.
Available for download on Monday, June 23, 2025