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Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira

Print version ISSN 0104-4230


TEIXEIRA, Filipa Valente; PAIS-RIBEIRO, José Luis  and  MAIA, Ângela Rosa Pinho da Costa. Beliefs and practices of healthcare providers regarding obesity: a systematic review. Rev. Assoc. Med. Bras. [online]. 2012, vol.58, n.2, pp.254-262. ISSN 0104-4230.

Despite the implementation of various intervention measures, the number of obese individuals remain high; thus, it is important to consider what is contributing to this scenario. Authors have been striving to understand the role healthcare providers, especially in primary healthcare, seem to play in this context. The present review aims to synthesize the main investigation results regarding beliefs, attitudes, and practices of healthcare providers, as they seem to negatively influence the practitioner's actions. The words "obesity", "beliefs", "healthcare professionals", "general practitioners", "attitudes", "practices", "health physicians", and "family practitioners" were entered into databases, such as EBSCOHost, ScienceDirect, Psychlnfo, PubMed, and SciELO. Thirteen studies from 1991 to 2011 were reviewed. The data indicate a lack of appropriate understanding and adequate competence regarding obesity, which likely contributes to ambivalent belief development and negative attitudes toward obese individuals, who are described as unmotivated, lazy, and lacking self-control. These professionals consider it hard to deal with obesity, manifesting low expectations of success regarding weight loss, thus considering themselves unsuccessful. Their practices are inconsistent, mirroring a certain skepticism towards the efficacy of available interventions. Either during graduation or as active practitioners, it is imperative to make healthcare providers aware of the impact their beliefs regarding obesity can exert on their practices, as these may impair appropriate and effective treatment delivery to obese individuals.

Keywords : Knowledge; attitudes and practices in healthcare; obesity; general practitioners.

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