Background/aim : Obesity affects more than half the Australian population and has become epidemic throughout the world. Little is known regarding occupational therapy interventions with clients who are overweight or obese. This study aimed to identify occupational therapy practice in relation to the provision of weight management. This was part of a larger study investigating health professional practice. Methods: A cross-sectional study design using a self-administered, purpose-designed survey was employed to identify the current practices of occupational therapists working in a regional area of New South Wales, Australia. Participants were recruited via email or mail as publically available. Results: Fifty-one occupational therapists anonymously completed the survey. Results revealed that 53% (n = 26) of respondents did not consider weight management to be within their scope of practice or their workplace role description. The most common intervention was the provision of physical activity advice (65.2%; n = 30). Dietary advice was provided by 20.8% (n = 10), while 77% (n = 32) referred onto dietitian services. During entry-level occupational therapy education, only 7.8% (n = 4) had received weight management advice education. Completion of postgraduate professional development training in this area was reported by 14% (n = 7) of respondents. Conclusion: This study provides insight into the current practices of Australian occupational therapists in relation to the provision of weight management advice. This research displays a need to acknowledge both a generic and a discipline-specific role for the provision of healthy lifestyle interventions. This may be achieved through better access to education during entry-level programmes and in the workplace.
Australian Occupational Therapy Journal Vol. 60, Issue 6, p. 387-394
This is the accepted version of the following article: Lang, J., James, C., Ashby, S., Plotnifkoff, R., Guest, M., Kable, A., Collins, C. and Snodgrass, S. (2013), The provision of weight management advice: An investigation into occupational therapy practice. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 60: 387–394, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1440-1630.12073