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Monday, April 21, 2008

Interprofessional Approach to Obesity

Obesity is a complex and heterogeneous chronic condition that significantly affects many aspects of the mental, physical and economic well-being of Canadians.

The federally-funded Canadian Obesity Network with well over 2700 member, represents a wide range of obesity researchers, health professionals, policy makers and other stakeholders from across Canada and around the world.

How do these members see the role of interprofessional practice in dealing with obesity? This was the subject of a pilot survey conducted by Shelly Russell-Mayhew and colleagues from the University of Calgary at an obesity conference organized by the Obesity Network held in Kananaskis, Alberta, in May 2006.

The survey on interprofessional attitudes and relationships was conducted using semi-structured individual interviews with CON members attending the conference using established qualitative methodology. The researchers analysed the‘‘Who?, What?, When?, Where?, Why?, and How?’’ framework of interprofessional practice and obesity.

The results of the study just appeared in the March issue of the Journal of Interprofessional Care.

While the study makes interesting reading, the bottom line is relatively straightforward:

Both obesity prevention and treatment cannot be approached in silos. No single profession has all the expertise necessary to counter this epidemic.

Interprofessional collaborations and interactions will be key to the solutions.

I was particularly pleased to see that the interviewees consistently felt that the Canadian Obesity Network is strategically positioned to foster this interprofessional dialogue and to ensure that all relevant professions and stakeholders benefit and translate the rapidly emerging research in this field into effective prevention and treatment strategies.

In the meantime, the Canadian Obesity Network continues to evolve into a well-recognized and respected entity in the Canadian public health and healthcare landscape.

Membership is open to anyone with a professional interest in obesity by registering at

Edmonton, Alberta

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