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PCP Practices Not Well Organized for Providing Energy Balance Care

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Primary care physician (PCP) practices are not well organized for providing energy balance care, with considerable variation in provision of care between PCP specialties, according to a study published in the January/February issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.

Carrie N. Klabunde, Ph.D., from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues conducted a nationally representative study involving 1,740 PCPs from U.S. primary care practices. The authors sought to assess the organization of practices for providing energy balance care (evaluation; counseling; or monitoring patients regarding diet, physical activity, and weight control).

The researchers found that most PCPs (more than 80 percent) reported having diet, physical activity, and weight control information resources available in waiting/exam rooms. Fewer PCPs billed, used reminder systems, or received incentive payments for energy balance care (45, <30, and 3 percent, respectively). Twenty-six percent reported conducting regular assessments of body mass index and always/often providing counseling as well as tracking energy balance-related progress. This care was more often and more comprehensively provided by PCPs in practices with full electronic health records or by those who bill for energy balance care, in multivariate analysis. The provision of energy balance care varied according to specialty, with pediatricians more likely (odds ratio, 1.78) and obstetrician/gynecologists less likely (odds ratio, 0.28) than others to provide care.

"PCPs' practices are not well organized for providing energy balance care," the authors write. "Further research is needed to understand PCP care-related specialty differences."

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