The Most Undertreated Chronic Disease: Addressing Obesity in Primary Care Settings

Shanna Tucker, Carolyn Bramante, Molly Conroy, Angela Fitch, Adam Gilden, Sandra Wittleder, Melanie Jay

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: While obesity-related comorbidities are frequently addressed and treated in primary care (PC), obesity itself is undertreated. We review the current treatments for obesity and provide potential provider and system-level strategies for integrating weight management and improving longer term obesity care within PC settings.

RECENT FINDINGS: We now understand that the body develops multiple mechanisms to resist weight loss and promote weight regain, making both weight loss and weight loss maintenance challenging. Therefore, weight management often requires medically supervised interventions and should be treated on a long-term basis. However, there are multiple barriers to improving obesity care within PC settings. Clinically, utilizing strategies such as a shared decision-making approach and the 5As to discuss treatment options can facilitate formulating an obesity treatment plan. Utilizing telehealth, a team-based approach, and community partnering can increase patient access to intensive behavioral interventions. Future studies should evaluate other cost-effective methods to implement obesity care into the PC setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)396-408
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent obesity reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply.


  • Challenges/barriers
  • Obesity
  • Primary care
  • Shared decision making
  • Weight management


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