Open Access Open Badges Research article

Dutch General Practitioners’ weight management policy for overweight and obese patients

Corelien JJ Kloek1*, Jacqueline Tol1, Cindy Veenhof1, Ineke van der Wulp2 and Ilse CS Swinkels1

Author Affiliations

1 NIVEL Utrecht, PO Box 1568, 3500 BN, Utrecht, The Netherlands

2 VU University Medical Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Obesity 2014, 1:2  doi:10.1186/2052-9538-1-2

Published: 19 February 2014



General practitioners (GPs) can play an important role in both the prevention and management of overweight and obesity. Current general practice guidelines in the Netherlands allow room for GPs to execute their own weight management policy.


To examine GPs’ current weight management policy and the factors associated with this policy.


800 Dutch GPs were asked to complete a questionnaire in December 2012. The questionnaire items were based on the Dutch Obesity Standard for GPs. The data were analyzed by means of descriptive statistics and multiple linear regression analyses in 2013.


In total, 307 GPs (39.0%) responded. Most respondents (82.9%) considered weight management as part of their responsibility for providing care. GPs aged <48 years discussed weight less frequent. Next, weight is less frequently discussed with patients without weight-related comorbidities or with moderately overweight patients compared to obese patients. On average, 47.7% of the GPs reported to refer obese patients to a weight management professional, preferably a dietitian (98.3%). GPs with a BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2 were less likely to refer obese patients. In addition, GPs who had frequent contact with a dietitian were more likely to refer obese patients.


In the context of General Practice and preventive medicine, GPs’ discussion of weight and the variety of obesity-determinants with their moderately overweight patients deserves more attention, especially from younger GPs. Strengthening interdisciplinary collaboration between GPs and dietitians could increase the referral percentage for dietary treatment.

Obesity; General practitioners; Public health; Referral and consultation