Dietitians are the preferred primary health care professionals for nutritional care in overweight patients. Guidelines for dietitians recommend a weight reduction of ≥ 5% of initial body weight after one year of treatment. The purpose of this study was to evaluate weight change in patients with overweight who were treated by dietitians in Dutch primary health care, and to identify patient characteristics that were associated with it.
Material and methods:
This observational study data was based on real life practice data of patients with overweight during the period 2013-2017, derived from dietetic practices that participated in the Nivel Primary Care Database. Multilevel linear regression analyses were performed to investigate weight change after dietetic treatment and to explore associations with patient characteristics.
In total, data were evaluated from 56 dietetic practices and 4722 patients with a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 25 kg/m2. The mean treatment time was 3 hours within an average timeframe of 5 months. Overall, patients had a mean weight change of -3.5% (95% CI: -3.8; -3.1) of their initial body weight, and a quarter of the patients reached a weight loss of 5% or more, despite the fact that most patients did not meet the recommended treatment duration of at least one year. The mean BMI change was -1.1 kg/m2 (95% CI: -1.2; -1.0). Higher weight reductions were shown for patients with a higher initial BMI and for patients with a longer treatment time. Sex and age were not associated with weight change, and patients with other dietetic diagnoses, such as diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia, had lower weight reductions.
This study showed that dietetic treatment in primary health care coincided with modest weight reduction in patients with overweight. The weight loss goals were not reached for most patients, which was possibly due to a low treatment adherence.