Background and objectives:
Obesity is listed among the top 5 preventable risk factors for non-communicable diseases. Health authorities around the world periodically publish evidence-based weight management recommendations to guide healthcare providers. Community pharmacies are increasingly offering weight management products and programs. This study was conducted to explore weight management services being offered in community pharmacies in Palestine and adherence of pharmacists to authorities’ recommendations.
The study was conducted in a cross-sectional observational design using a validated and reliable questionnaire. The sociodemographic and practice characteristics of the pharmacists were collected. The pharmacists replied to 60 items related to services offered, adherence to guidelines, training required, and best methods to promote weight management.
The study tool was completed by 350 community pharmacists, of whom 89.7% offered weight management services, 53.2% had experience of more than 10 years, 45.1% had training on weight management, 49.1% counseled more than 5 patients per week on weight management, 56.9% thought the information available to them were adequate. Pharmacists were more likely to adhere to regulatory guidelines and offer more services when they had had training on weight management (χ2 = 9.282, p-value = 0.003), had more than 10 years of practice experience (χ2 = 4.606, p-value = 0.040), and when they counseled more than 5 patients per week (χ2 = 4.454, p-value = 0.013).
Conclusion & Recommendations:
Community pharmacists are in key position to promote weight management and reduce risk of non-communicable diseases. Further training might improve services and adherence to guidelines.