Primary care obesity management in Hungary: Evaluation of the knowledge, practice and attitudes of family physicians

Imre Rurik, Péter Torzsa, István Ilyés, Endre Szigethy, Eszter Halmy, Gabriella Iski, László Róbert Kolozsvári, Lajos Mester, Csaba Móczár, József Rinfel, Lajos Nagy, László Kalabay

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Obesity, a threatening pandemic, has an important public health implication. Before proper medication is available, primary care providers will have a distinguished role in prevention and management. Their performance may be influenced by many factors but their personal motivation is still an under-researched area. Methods. The knowledge, attitudes and practice were reviewed in this questionnaire study involving a representative sample of 10% of all Hungarian family physicians. In different settings, 521 practitioners (448 GPs and 73 residents/vocational trainees) were questioned using a validated questionnaire. Results: The knowledge about multimorbidity, a main consequence of obesity was balanced.Only 51% of the GPs were aware of the diagnostic threshold for obesity; awareness being higher in cities (60%) and the highest among residents (90%). They also considered obesity an illness rather than an aesthetic issue.There were wider differences regarding attitudes and practice, influenced by the the doctors' age, gender, known BMI, previous qualification, less by working location.GPs with qualification in family medicine alone considered obesity management as higher professional satisfaction, compared to physicians who had previously other board qualification (77% vs 68%). They measured their patients' waist circumference and waist/hip ratio (72% vs 62%) more frequently, provided the obese with dietary advice more often, while this service was less frequent among capital-based doctors who accepted the self-reported body weight dates by patients more commonly. Similar reduced activity and weight-measurement in outdoor clothing were more typical among older doctors.Diagnosis based on BMI alone was the highest in cities (85%). Consultations were significantly shorter in practices with a higher number of enrolled patients and were longer by female providers who consulted longer with patients about the suspected causes of developing obesity (65% vs 44%) and offered dietary records for patients significantly more frequently (65% vs 52%). Most of the younger doctors agreed that obesity management was a primary care issue.Doctors in the normal BMI range were unanimous that they should be a model for their patients (94% vs 81%). Conclusion: More education of primary care physicians, available practical guidelines and higher community involvement are needed to improve the obesity management in Hungary.

Original languageEnglish
Article number156
JournalBMC family practice
Publication statusPublished - Oct 22 2013


  • Attitudes
  • Family physician
  • General practitioner
  • Hungarian
  • Knowledge
  • Management
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Practice
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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    Rurik, I., Torzsa, P., Ilyés, I., Szigethy, E., Halmy, E., Iski, G., Kolozsvári, L. R., Mester, L., Móczár, C., Rinfel, J., Nagy, L., & Kalabay, L. (2013). Primary care obesity management in Hungary: Evaluation of the knowledge, practice and attitudes of family physicians. BMC family practice, 14, [156].