Purpose: Despite the associated health consequences, obesity is infrequently documented as a problem in medical charts. The purpose of this study is to determine whether a simple intervention (routine listing of the BMI on the medical chart) will increase physician documentation of obesity in the medical record. Methods: Participants were resident physicians in a family medicine residency program. Participants were randomly assigned to either an experimental group or a control group. For experimental group physicians, the Body Mass Index was listed alongside other vital signs of patients seen in an ambulatory setting. Physician documentation of patient obesity was assessed by chart review after patient visits. Documentation was defined as inclusion of obesity on the problem list or in the progress note. Results: The intervention did not significantly increase the rate of documentation of obesity in the medical chart. Several reasons for the lack of change are explored, including the difficulty of treating obesity successfully
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