Exploring weight management recommendations across Australian community pharmacies using case vignettes

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Abstract

With the increase in the overweight and obese population, it is critical that pharmacy staff are able to provide weight management
advice to women at different stages of their life. This study utilized case vignettes to identify pharmacists’ and pharmacy
assistants’ current weight management recommendations to women of different ages, life stages and co-morbidities. A total
of 537 pharmacist and 403 pharmacy assistant responses were received. In the case of the pre-pregnancy vignette, only 57%
(46/80) of pharmacy assistants were able to correctly identify a woman’s weight category based on her body mass index, which
was significantly fewer than 86% (86/108) of pharmacists (P 0.001). In the pregnancy vignette, both pharmacists and pharmacy assistants were able to identify the risks of using a
herbal weight loss medication in pregnancy. The need for a ‘multi-disciplinary team approach’ was seen in the menopause case
vignette with pharmacists, highlighting the need for the involvement of other health care professionals for successful weight
loss outcomes. Australian pharmacists and pharmacy assistants are currently providing weight management services to their
consumers, however, not all of their recommendations are evidence-based. There is a need for pharmacy weight management educational
resources to be developed and implemented across community pharmacies.

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