General practitioner views on addressing weight opportunistically in primary care: An embedded sequential mixed-methods study

Maryam Kebbe, Rachna Begh, Susan A Jebb, Anna Christian-Brown, Hannah Wheat, Amanda Farley, Amanda L Lewis, Paul Aveyard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


To assess GPs’ thoughts, feelings, and practices on providing opportunistic weight loss interventions before and after educational training and application in practice.

In an embedded sequential mixed-methods design, 137 GPs delivered a 30-second brief opportunistic intervention to a mean of 14 patients with obesity. To assess GPs’ experiences and views on the intervention, all were invited to complete pre- and post-trial questionnaires and 18 were purposively interviewed. Data were transcribed verbatim and analysed using inductive framework analysis.

GPs’ attitudes (importance, feasibility, appropriateness, helpfulness, and effectiveness), capacities (comfort, confidence, and knowledge), perceived subjective norms (role expectations), willingness, and intentions on providing weight loss interventions were predominantly improved post-trial. The research setting allowed GPs to depersonalise intervening on obesity and feel more comfortable discussing the topic. Beyond the trial, GPs reverted largely to not intervening, citing barriers that had reportedly been overcome during the trial.

GPs who delivered the intervention had positive experiences doing so, shifting their beliefs modestly that this intervention is important, feasible, and acceptable.

Practice implications
Given that outside of the trial GPs were apprehensive about intervening without a prompt, developing systems to prompt patients may support implementation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-523
Number of pages12
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number3
Early online date29 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
PA and SJ are NIHR senior investigators and are funded by NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre and NIHR Oxford Applied Research Collaboration. The study was funded by the National Prevention Research Initiative , Medical Research Council . The funder had no role in designing the study, the analysis, or the decision to submit the paper.

Funding Information:
Rosemary Conley and Slimming World donated weight loss programmes to the NHS in support of this trial. PA and SJ are investigators on a trial funded by Cambridge Weight Plan. PA has done half a day’s consultancy for Weight Watchers. PA spoke at a symposium at the Royal College of General Practitioners conference that was funded by Novo Nordisk. None of these activities led to personal payments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Attitude
  • Obesity
  • Primary health care
  • Referral and consultation
  • Weight loss


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