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Clin Obes. 2018 Dec;8(6):411-423. doi: 10.1111/cob.12283. Epub 2018 Sep 21.

Personalizing obesity assessment and care planning in primary care: patient experience and outcomes in everyday life and health.

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Department of Family Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
Edmonton Southside Primary Care Network, Edmonton, Canada.
Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
Alberta Diabetes Institute, Edmonton, Canada.


Obesity is a complex, chronic disease, frequently associated with multiple comorbidities. Its management is hampered by a lack of translation of evidence on chronicity and pathophysiology into clinical practice. Also, it is not well understood how to support effective provider-patient communication that adequately addresses patients' personal root causes and barriers and helps them feel capable to take action for their health. This study examined interpersonal processes during clinical consultations, their impacts, and outcomes with the aim to develop an approach to personalized obesity assessment and care planning. We used a qualitative, explorative design with 20 participants with obesity, sampling for maximum variation, to examine video-recorded consultations, patient interviews at three time points, provider interviews and patient journals. Analysis was grounded in a dialogic interactional perspective and found eight key processes that supported patients in making changes to improve health: compassion and listening; making sense of root causes and contextual factors in the patient's story; recognizing strengths; reframing misconceptions about obesity; focusing on whole-person health; action planning; fostering reflection and experimenting. Patient outcomes include activation, improved physical and psychological health. The proposed approach fosters emphatic care relationships and sensible care plans that support patients in making manageable changes to improve health.


obesity management; patient-centred care; primary health care; qualitative research

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