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Kiwi GPs unaware of guidelines around obesity risk in pregnancy

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While the majority of GPs are aware of the risks of obesity in pregnancy, over half don’t consistently follow the recommended standards, according to new research from Tauranga Hospital and the University of Otago. Based on a voluntary survey sent out to GPs, only 12 per cent knew the Ministry of Health guidelines, which were sent in 2014 to health practitioners about healthy weight gain during pregnancy in an effort to reduce the burden of childhood obesity. The authors call for promotion of the ministry's guidelines to better educate GPs on the topic, as well as public health messages around the issue.

Journal/conference: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Organisation/s: University of Otago, Tauranga Hospital

Funder: This study was funded by the Dunedin O&G Senior Medical Officer fund.

Media Release

From: Wiley-Blackwell

General practitioners and preconception weight management in New Zealand

Abstract:

Background: Childhood obesity is a growing concern internationally and a top
priority for the World Health Organization. Preconception overweight, obesity
and excess gestational weight gain significantly increase childhood obesity risk.
Optimising preconception weight is a key preventative measure toward reducing
childhood obesity. In 2014, the New Zealand ( NZ ) Ministry of Health released
guidance for health practitioners on healthy weight gain in pregnancy in an effort to reduce the burden of childhood obesity.

Aim: To explore the knowledge and practice of NZ general practitioners ( GP s)
regarding preconception and gestational weight management.

Materials and methods: A nationwide survey was conducted on a randomly
selected sample of NZ GP s using a mixed methods approach. Descriptive statistics were used for survey responses and a general inductive approach was applied to the free text data.

Results: A total of 200 GPs (42.5%) responded. The majority of GPs were aware of the risks of obesity in pregnancy. Over 50% of GPs reported practice that was not consistent with recommended standards of care. Ministry of Health guidance was known to only 12% of participants. Themes emerging from the free text data included: lack of opportunity for, and awareness of, preconception care; recognition of the importance of this area; and need for further learning.

Conclusions: General practitioners in NZ are not providing optimal preconception care. This research highlights the need for a public health message encouraging preconception counselling and better education of GP s on the topic. This should start with promotion of the Ministry of Health guidance.

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