Weight Loss in the Chiropractic Profession
Background: Excess weight places a significant burden on health. Clinical practice guidelines advise healthcare professionals to provide weight management interventions to patients with overweight and obesity. Chiropractic practice may provide a unique opportunity to deliver weight management interventions to those with overweight and obesity. However, little has been done to address overweight and obesity within the chiropractic profession. Identifying the extent of this evidence-practice gap in chiropractic practice is the first step in addressing this issue. Objectives: This thesis was to assess the clinical practices of weight loss provided by chiropractors. The primary objectives were to 1) determine the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the adult patient population that sought chiropractic care, 2) describe the frequency and distribution of chiropractor directed weight management intervention, 3) identify associations between chiropractor directed weight management interventions and specific patient-level and chiropractor-level variables, and 4) examine the interaction between patient weight and comorbid conditions and whether chiropractors offered weight management interventions. Methods: Data from the Ontario Chiropractic Observational and Analysis Study was used (N = 42 chiropractors, N = 3523 patient encounters). Multilevel logistic regression was performed. Patient-level as well as chiropractor-level variables were investigated and associations with weight management provided by chiropractors were identified. Results: The majority of patients who sought chiropractic were overweight or obese (61.2%). Weight loss was provided to only 5.4% of patients. Chiropractors who graduated between 1995 and 2005 (OR: 0.02, 95% CI: 0.00 - 0.13) or prior to 1995 (OR: 0.08, 95% CI: 0.01 - 0.42) provided weight management significantly less than chiropractors who graduated between 2005 and 2014. No significant interaction was observed between patient adiposity and comorbid conditions with chiropractors directed weight loss. Conclusion: The majority of patients who seek chiropractic care are overweight and obese. Chiropractors are in a unique position to help improve patient health through offering weight management. However, this opportunity has not been fully realized by the chiropractic profession.
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