Obesity rates in Alberta are 3.7% higher than the national average but there are supports available, and we are here to help.

July 30, 2015 – The Edmonton North PCN has a robust weight management program that takes a patient-centered approach, engaging patients to actively participate in their journey to better health. The Health Quality Council of Alberta released a full report yesterday, titled “Overweight and Obesity in Adult Albertans: A Role for Primary Healthcare”. This report, compiled throughout 2014, surveyed Albertans and found that nearly three out of five adults are either overweight or obese. This reinforces the need for patients to have access to support at a primary care level to manage their weight properly and in a healthy way.

It is known that being overweight or obese is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic health conditions, increased cost and use within the healthcare system, and a lower self-rated quality of life. “Weight management support was seen as a priority for our physician membership since day one” says Dr. Nadine Letwin, President of the Board of Directors. “It is important for us to have a place where our patients can get the holistic care that is required for managing their weight. At our PCN, the patients have the support of a whole team, which includes nurses, dietitians, exercise specialists, pharmacists and mental health practitioners, if needed.”

The report also outlines that managing this patient population primarily falls on primary healthcare providers, like family doctors and their teams. The services available to patients who require weight management assistance are widespread and while they can be readily available, they are often hard for patients to access if unfamiliar with the healthcare system.

“Last year, 16.4% of our referrals received for PCN services were for our weight management program” says Leanne McGeachy, General Manager. “Evaluation is important with our patients who participate in our programs to ensure we are meeting their needs. From those who went through our weight management program, we saw an increase from 42% to 79% of patients who reported that had effective skills to reach their health goals. We focus on providing our patients the tools, support and confidence to make lifestyle changes themselves. We base all of our teaching around motivational interviewing techniques, encouraging participants to learn and utilize self-management skills”.

If you are looking for support in managing your weight, the Edmonton North PCN can help. The first step is to talk to your family doctor and ask for a referral to our weight management program. If your family doctor is not part of the Edmonton North PCN, ask them about the services their PCN provides for weight management. If your doctor is not part of a PCN, there are a number of resources available through Alberta Health Services to assist you.

About Edmonton North PCN

Edmonton North PCN provides enhanced care to thousands of patients affiliated with over 150 member family doctors practicing in north Edmonton. Edmonton North PCN has an on-site clinical program that cares for 1,500 patients per month. There is also a comprehensive specialist database in which referrals are processed and tracked and is used by a number of other PCNs. For more information about the PCN, visit www.enpcn.com.

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