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Nutrition and obesity care in multidisciplinary primary care settings in Ontario, Canada: Short duration of visits and complex health problems perceived as barriers

Source Info: 
10: 242-247


  • Nutrition was perceived to be an important topic when discussing weight.
  • Primary care providers perceived their knowledge in nutrition to be suboptimal.
  • Access to allied health professionals facilitated referrals.
  • Electronic Medical Records facilitated obesity management and communication.
  • Lack of time and increase in multimorbidities hindered preventive care.


Nutrition care in the primary care setting is integral in obesity management, but there is a substantial gap between patients who would benefit from this service and those receiving it. This study provides an in-depth understanding of how relatively new multidisciplinary primary care settings may be affecting nutrition care practices of family physicians and nurse practitioners. This qualitative comparative case study sought to assess nutrition care practices in three different types of multidisciplinary clinics (2 Family Health Teams, 3 Community Health Centers, 1 Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic) in Ontario, Canada. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with nurse practitioners (n = 13) and family physicians (n = 7) in fall 2017. Data analysis was conducted using NVivo Software. The integrated approach was used for elucidating codes and themes. Findings suggest that suboptimal duration of medical visits and increasing prevalence of complex patients were reported by most participants and were perceived as barriers for addressing nutrition and obesity. However, improved nutrition care was fostered through Electronic Medical Records, primary care providers' positive attitude towards nutrition and cost-free dietitian services at point of access. Site-specific challenges, such as duration of medical visits, incentive programs, access to dietitians on site, and continued professional development could enhance nutritional care for weight management in these multidisciplinary primary care settings.