Aim: The aim of this analysis is to establish if dietitians have the knowledge, skills and attitude to provide support to other health professional (HP) groups in the provision of weight management advice to overweight/obese patients. Methods: A secondary data analysis of a cross-sectional survey of HPs was undertaken to perform a gap analysis with regard to practices, knowledge, confidence and attitudes in the provision of weight management advice. Survey responses and additional measures (practice, knowledge, confidence and attitude scores) were compared between dietitians and other HPs. Descriptive statistics were undertaken, and differences between group x2 tests were performed for nominal data and the Wilcoxon rank sum test for ordinal and non-parametric data. Results: About 100% of dietitians had received initial weight management training and 85% had participated in professional development training, compared with 18 and 19% of HPs, respectively, although 70% believed it was within their scope of practice to provide evidence-based advice. Dietitian respondents achieved a higher median score (maximum 10) in the following areas (practice = 6.5, knowledge = 8.0, confidence = 8.3) when compared with HP respondents (practice = 4.2, knowledge = 7.0, confidence = 5.4). The median attitude score for both groups was 6.0. Conclusions: HPs are receptive to providing evidence-based weight loss messages to overweight/obese clients in their current practice. However, weight management training is required to enhance HPs' knowledge and skills in order to increase confidence and improve practice skills. Dietitians can assist HPs to ensure that clear, consistent, evidence-based messages are delivered to overweight clients throughout the health-care system.
Nutrition and Dietetics Vol. 72, Issue 2, p. 114-121