General practitioners’ attitudes towards obesity in Brunei Darussalam


Mahmud Shauqi SAEDON and Lin NAING,

PAPRSB Institute of Health Sciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei Darussalam


Introduction: This study was undertaken to determine the attitudes of general practitioners (GPs) in Brunei towards obesity and to identify the associated factors with their attitudes. Materials and Methods: This is a cross-sectional study of 77 government GPs using a self-administered questionnaire to determine GP agreement or disagreement with statements regarding obesity, obese patient and obesity treatment. The GPs’ demographic characteristics and other personal variables were analysed using descriptive statistics while chi-square test was used to analyse the associations between these factors and the attitude items. Results: 50.7% to 67.5% of GPs generally recognise obesity as a disease. However, 55.9% to 70.2% have, to a certain extent, negative attitude towards obese patients. At the same time, 10.4% to 36.4% are neutral towards obesity treatment. In addition, longer medical practice duration (p=0.001) and older age (p=0.010) are associated with positive attitude towards treating obesity. GPs with postgraduate qualification have relatively less empathy on obese patients (p=0.026). Interestingly, overweight but not obese, GPs are more uncomfortable when examining obese patients (p=0.018). Finally, Malay GPs are relatively more negative towards obese patients than other ethnicities. (p=0.013). Conclusion: The findings indicate the need for further studies to examine current GP clinical practice, the barriers that GPs face in treating obesity and their knowledge as well as competency in weight loss management. Consequently, recommendations and appropriate intervention could be implemented to improve GP attitudes towards obesity, focusing on young or newly graduated Malay GPs.


Keywords: General practitioner, obesity, attitudes, primary care, Brunei Darussalam


Correspondence author: Mahmud Shauqi SAEDON. Pengkalan Batu Health Centre, Department of Health Services, Brunei Darussalam. Tel: +6737130445. E mail:

 Brunei Int Med J. 2015; 11 (1): 14-22