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Interventions to change the behaviour of health professionals and the organisation of care to promote weight reduction in overweight and obese people

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Gerd Flodgren, Dr Heather Dickinson, Dr Sara Kirk, Professor Hugh Alberti, Fiona Beyer, James Brown, Tarra Penney, Professor Martin Eccles


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Background The prevalence of obesity is increasing globally and will, if left unchecked, have major implications for both population health and costs to health services. Objectives To assess the effectiveness of strategies to change the behaviour of health professionals and the organisation of care to promote weight reduction in overweight and obese people. Search strategy We updated the search for primary studies in the following databases, which were all interrogated from the previous (version 2) search date to May 2009: The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (which at this time incorporated all EPOC Specialised Register material) (The Cochrane Library 2009, Issue 1), MEDLINE (Ovid), EMBASE (Ovid), CINAHL (EBSCO), and PsycINFO (Ovid). We identified further potentially relevant studies from the reference lists of included studies. Selection criteria Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that compared routine provision of care with interventions aimed either at changing the behaviour of healthcare professionals or the organisation of care to promote weight reduction in overweight or obese adults. Data collection and analysis Two reviewers independently extracted data and assessed study quality. Main results We included six RCTs,involving more than 246 health professionals and 1324 overweight or obese patients. Four of the trials targeted professionals and two targeted the organisation of care. Most of the studies had methodological or reporting weaknesses indicating a risk of bias. Meta-analysis of three trials that evaluated educational interventions aimed at GPs suggested that, compared to standard care, such interventions could reduce the average weight of patients after a year (by 1.2 kg, 95% CI - 0.4 to 2.8 kg); however, there was moderate unexplained heterogeneity between their results (I-2 = 41%). One trial found that reminders could change doctors' practice, resulting in a significant reduction in weight among men (by 11.2 kg, 95% CI 1.7 to 20.7 kg) but not among women (who reduced weight by 1.3 kg, 95% CI - 4.1 to 6.7 kg). One trial found that patients may lose more weight after a year if the care was provided by a dietitian (by 5.6 kg, 95% CI 4.8 to 6.4 kg) or by a doctor-dietitian team (by 6 kg, 95% CI 5 to 7 kg), as compared with standard care. One trial found no significant difference between standard care and either mail or phone interventions in reducing patients' weight. Authors' conclusions Most of the included trials had methodological or reporting weaknesses and were heterogeneous in terms of participants, interventions, outcomes, and settings, so we cannot draw any firm conclusions about the effectiveness of the interventions. All of the evaluated interventions would need further investigation before it was possible to recommend them as effective strategies.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Flodgren G, Deane K, Dickinson HO, Kirk S, Alberti H, Beyer FR, Brown JG, Penney TL, Summerbell CD, Eccles MP

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Year: 2010

Volume: 2010

Issue: 3

ISSN (print):

ISSN (electronic): 1469-493X



DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000984.pub2