How do rural GPs manage their inactive and overweight patients? A pilot study of rural GPs in Queensland

Eley, Diann S. and Eley, Robert M. (2009) How do rural GPs manage their inactive and overweight patients? A pilot study of rural GPs in Queensland. Australian Family Physician, 38 8: 747-748.

Author Eley, Diann S.
Eley, Robert M.
Title How do rural GPs manage their inactive and overweight patients? A pilot study of rural GPs in Queensland
Journal name Australian Family Physician   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0300-8495
Publication date 2009-09
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 38
Issue 8
Start page 747
End page 748
Total pages 2
Place of publication Australia
Publisher Royal Australian College of General Practictioners
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject C1
11 Medical and Health Sciences
111717 Primary Health Care
Formatted abstract
BACKGROUND Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for chronic disease. Physical activity plays an important role in increasing wellbeing and reducing weight. General practitioners' advice and intervention can help patients increase their physical activity. This pilot study is part of a larger study investigating physical activity opportunities in rural Queensland.

METHOD A survey was sent to a random sample of 40 general practices in rural Queensland. The survey asked GPs about strategies they use when dealing with patients who would benefit from exercise, their use of Lifescripts, the main perceived barriers to exercise in their location, perceptions on change in exercise patterns over 5 years, and local resources and referral networks available in their location. The data was analysed using a five stage framework and coded into themes.

RESULTS A total of 67.5% of practices responded. The primary strategy GP respondents used to address overweight was discussion and advice. Fifteen of the 27 respondents referred patients to allied health professionals and local sport/recreation organisations. Lack of physical and human resources to encourage and support weight loss was the main perceived barrier to helping patients achieve physical activity and weight loss goals.

DISCUSSION Behavioural factors are globally acknowledged as the biggest barriers to exercise. The GPs surveyed recognise that, for most people, external support is essential for ongoing exercise compliance and motivation. This can be in the form of discussion with, and advice from, the GP, or referral to gyms or other services. Respondents identified limited facilities and support in rural areas as barriers. Formalisation of referral pathways and follow up is currently lacking and could assist rural GPs in helping their patients to exercise and lose weight.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 5 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 30 Sep 2009, 14:39:54 EST by Erin Bowly on behalf of Rural Clinical School - South West Qld Region