General Practice Weight Loss Clinic in Group Sessions with Multidisciplinary Approach (#152)
Obesity is a major and increasing problem in Australia, despite many strategies in place to prevent or reverse it. We developed a new model of weight loss clinic in general practice that uses a multidisciplinary approach and group sessions.
Patients of one general practice were recruited via: a letter sent to patients over 18 years of age who had a BMI of >30, or who had received a prescription of phentermine in the previous 12 months; waiting room pamphlets; referral from general practitioners within the practice. Six programs of eight weeks each were conducted by a team comprising a general practitioner, practice nurse, lifestyle adviser, dietician, psychologist and exercise physiologist. Patients were taught to identify and establish key health habits. Clinic reminder and motivational text messages were sent between meetings. Eating and physical activity behaviours were monitored using weekly group instruction, measurement, and weekly consultations with the general practitioner. The program was funded without out of pocket cost to participants by bulk billing available Medicare item numbers and by donation of the health professionals' time.
170 patients were recruited between October 2011 and February 2013, with 141 (83%) participants completing the eight week program. Baseline and 8 week measurements for all groups combined were (mean and standard deviation): men: waist circumference: 114 (13); 108 (13) cm; weight: 106 (20); 101 (19) Kg; estimated body fat: 37 (12); 34 (10) Kg; women: waist circumference 105 (15); 99 (14) cm; weight 94 (19); 93 (18) Kg; estimated body fat: 41 (13); 40 (12) Kg.
The decreases in weight, body fat and waist circumference achieved via our multidisciplinary group clinic model are encouraging. The longer term efficacy and generalisability of this model deserves further study, and we are following up all groups.