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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2011, Article ID 686521, 6 pages
Research Article

Canadian Physicians' Use of Antiobesity Drugs and Their Referral Patterns to Weight Management Programs or Providers: The SOCCER Study

1Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2V2
2Department of Medicine, Walter C. MacKenzie Health Sciences Center (2F1.26), University of Alberta Hospital, 8440-112 Street, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2B7
3Madella Clinical Research Consulting, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L9C 7W6
4Population Health Research Institute, McMaster Hamilton, University Health Sciences, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8L 2X2
5Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 4N1

Received 13 September 2010; Accepted 15 October 2010

Academic Editor: A. Halpern

Copyright © 2011 R. S. Padwal et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Antiobesity pharmacotherapy and programs/providers that possess weight management expertise are not commonly used by physicians. The underlying reasons for this are not known. We performed a cross-sectional study in 33 Canadian medical practices (36 physicians) examining 1788 overweight/obese adult patients. The frequency of pharmacotherapy use and referral for further diet, exercise, behavioral management and/or bariatric surgery was documented. If drug treatment or referral was not made, reasons were documented by choosing amongst preselected categories. Logistic regression models were used to identify predictors of antiobesity drug use. No single antiobesity management strategy was recommended by physicians in more than 50% of patients. Referral was most common for exercise (49% of cases) followed by dietary advice (46%), and only 5% of eligible patients were referred for bariatric surgery. Significant predictors of initiating/continuing pharmacotherapy were male sex (OR 0.70; 95% CI 0.52–0.94), increasing BMI (1.02; 95% CI 1.01–1.03), and private drug coverage (1.78; 95% CI 1.39–2.29). “Not considered” and “patient refusal” were the main reasons for not initiating further weight management. We conclude that both physician and patient factors act as barriers to the use of weight management strategies and both need to be addressed to increase uptake of these interventions.