Aim: The purpose of the present study was to assess and document the self-reported capacity, knowledge, skill and confidence of Central Coast general practitioners and paediatricians in the identification and management of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents, to investigate the barriers they experience in this area of practice and to consider how the local public sector nutrition service may assist. Methods: Forty general practitioners and three paediatricians were interviewed using a semistructured purpose-designed questionnaire. Results: Most participating doctors perceived that public sector dietitians are not available to assist them in managing overweight and obese paediatric patients. Few (23%) doctors reported using published guidelines and most reported significant barriers limiting their capacity to identify and manage this patient group effectively. All doctors identified at least one way in which the public health system can better support doctors in this role. Conclusions: The findings suggest that many doctors may benefit from increased training and a health system that better remunerates them for the time investment needed to provide management consistent with best practice. Reorientation of local public sector nutrition services may also provide them with better support when managing overweight and obese paediatric clients. Future research should examine the actual practices of doctors and how public sector dietitians can best communicate and interact with them to facilitate effective management of these patients.
Nutrition & Dietetics Vol. 66, Issue 3, p. 176-185