Physicians’ attitudes towards obesity management in the primary care clinics in Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates: A qualitative study

Iffat Elbarazi, Shamsa Lootah, Fatima Al Shamsi, Nouf Al Marzouqi, Meerah Al Matrooshi, Fatheya Al Awadi, Zufishan Alam, Fatma Al-Maskari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The global prevalence of obesity has almost tripled since 1975 and has become a major public health concern in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Although physicians are considered as essential role players in the prevention and management of obesity, their perspectives towards obesity management still remain unknown in the UAE. Accordingly, this study aimed to assess physicians’ attitudes and practices towards obesity management and prevention in the UAE using a qualitative research design. Face-to-face interviews, with a convenience sample of 15 health care practitioners from primary care clinics in Al-Ain City, Abu Dhabi, were employed during January–March 2019. Inductive thematic analysis was performed to identify main emerging themes and subthemes. Three major themes, namely beliefs and knowledge about obesity and its management, attitudes toward weight control, and current practices in relation to obesity management in primary care clinics, emerged. The results revealed that weight management is considered essential for all those with high body mass index but is suboptimal in primary care settings. Cultural misconceptions among patients regarding weight and lack of appropriate follow-up constitute major barriers to its management. As obesity is burdensome, its management is crucial and can be enhanced by multidisciplinary approach and unification of guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Healthcare Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • ambulatory health services
  • obesity
  • obesity management
  • physicians’ attitudes
  • primary health care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Health Policy


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