Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology
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Perceptions, attitudes, and barriers toward obesity management in Saudi Arabia: Data from the ACTION-IO study


1 Department of Medicine; Obesity Research Center, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 Endocrine Section, King Abdulaziz Hospital and King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs, Eastern Region, Al Ahsa, Saudi Arabia
3 Obesity, Diabetes and Endocrinology Center, King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
4 Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
5 Department of Nutrition, The Nutrition Map Clinic for Weight Management, Private Clinic, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
6 Department of Medical Affairs, Medical, Novo Nordisk, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
7 Department of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Assim A Alfadda,
Obesity Research Center, College of Medicine, King Saud University, P. O. Box 2925 (98), Riyadh 11461
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjg.sjg_500_20

PMID: 33666177

Background: The ACTION IO study (NCT03584191) aimed to identify perceptions, attitudes, behaviors, and potential barriers to effective obesity care across people with obesity (PwO) and healthcare professionals (HCPs). Results from Saudi Arabia are presented here. Methods: A survey was conducted from June to September 2018. In Saudi Arabia, eligible PwO were ≥18 years with a self reported body mass index of ≥30 kg/m2. Eligible HCPs were in direct patient care. Results: The survey was completed by 1,000 PwO and 200 HCPs in Saudi Arabia. Many PwO (68%) and HCPs (62%) agreed that obesity is a chronic disease. PwO felt responsible for their weight management (67%), but 71% of HCPs acknowledged their responsibility to contribute. Overall, 58% of PwO had discussed weight with their HCP in the past 5 years, 46% had received a diagnosis of obesity, and 44% had a follow up appointment scheduled. Although 50% of PwO said they were motivated to lose weight, only 39% of HCPs thought their patients were motivated to lose weight. Less than half of PwO (39%) and HCPs (49%) regarded genetic factors as a barrier to weight loss. Many PwO had seriously attempted weight loss (92%) and achieved ≥5% weight loss (61%), but few maintained their weight loss for >1 year (5%). Conclusion: Saudi Arabian results have revealed misperceptions among PwO and HCPs about obesity, highlighting opportunities for further education and training about obesity including the biologic basis and clinical management.


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    -  Alfadda AA
    -  Al Qarni A
    -  Alamri K
    -  Ahamed SS
    -  Abo’ouf SM
    -  Shams M
    -  Abdelfattah W
    -  Al Shaikh A
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