Obesity is a growing issue globally and bariatric surgery is increasingly being utilized to treat it. The prevalence of obesity in Kuwait is already high compared with global comparisons and increasing. The current study sought to assess the knowledge and attitudes of physicians in Kuwait towards obesity within their patient populations and the use of bariatric surgery.
Questionnaires were distributed to physicians across Kuwait. Responses were recorded online via Survey Monkey. The self-administered questionnaire collected data about demographic factors, knowledge of bariatric surgery, practices related to the collection of measurements related to weight and height, and attitudes towards bariatric surgery and obesity among patients.
A total of 118 surveys were returned. A minority of respondents (34%) supported the use of bariatric surgery, despite 51% having referred a patient for such a procedure. In terms of behaviours related to overweight and obesity, the majority of respondents regularly took patients weight and height, calculated BMI, and initiated conversations about obesity when they felt they were required. Knowledge related to the morbidity and mortality experienced by those undergoing bariatric surgery was low. Among those who responded to questions related to their knowledge of mortality related to bariatric surgery, over half did not know the 30-day mortality associated with any of the procedures included within the questions.
Among our sample of physicians, we report a low level of support for bariatric surgery, as well as low levels of knowledge of the risks and consequences of the procedures. At the same time, while we found low levels of support for this type of surgery, over half had referred a patient for it. As obesity continues to be a key issue of public health concern, globally and within Kuwait, physician and patient education and awareness of the appropriate treatment options available becomes increasingly important.