U.S. Health Professionals’ Views on Obesity Care, Training, and Self-Efficacy

Published:February 17, 2015DOI:


      Despite emphasis of recent guidelines on multidisciplinary teams for collaborative weight management, little is known about non-physician health professionals’ perspectives on obesity, their weight management training, and self-efficacy for obesity care.


      To evaluate differences in health professionals’ perspectives on (1) the causes of obesity; (2) training in weight management; and (3) self-efficacy for providing obesity care.


      Data were obtained from a cross-sectional Internet-based survey of 500 U.S. health professionals from nutrition, nursing, behavioral/mental health, exercise, and pharmacy (collected from January 20 through February 5, 2014). Inferences were derived using logistic regression adjusting for age and education (analyzed in 2014).


      Nearly all non-physician health professionals, regardless of specialty, cited individual-level factors, such as overconsumption of food (97%), as important causes of obesity. Nutrition professionals were significantly more likely to report high-quality training in weight management (78%) than the other professionals (nursing, 53%; behavioral/mental health, 32%; exercise, 50%; pharmacy, 47%; p<0.05). Nutrition professionals were significantly more likely to report high confidence in helping obese patients achieve clinically significant weight loss (88%) than the other professionals (nursing, 61%; behavioral/mental health, 51%; exercise, 52%; pharmacy, 61%; p<0.05), and more likely to perceive success in helping patients with obesity achieve clinically significant weight loss (nutrition, 81%; nursing, behavioral/mental health, exercise, and pharmacy, all <50%; p<0.05).


      Nursing, behavioral/mental health, exercise, and pharmacy professionals may need additional training in weight management and obesity care to effectively participate in collaborative weight management models.
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