Factors Influencing Referral for Bariatric Surgery by Primary Care Physicians in Northern Israel

Elham Zoabi, Roni Elran-Barak, Nasser Sakran, Noga Kaftori Sandler, Ossama Abu Hatoum, Uri Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Obesity is a chronic metabolic disease with global distribution among adults and children which affects daily functioning and ultimately quality of life. Primary care physicians (PCPs) provide an important role for the treatment of severe obesity. Better understanding of obesity and its treatment options may increase patients’ referral rates to the various treatment modalities, including metabolic/bariatric surgery (MBS). Materials and Methods: A quantitative cross-sectional study used a self-reported questionnaire among PCPs of Clalit Health Services (CHS) in Northern Israel. The quantitative questionnaire examined the PCP’s knowledge, opinions, attitude, and approaches to managing severe obesity. Results: A total of 246 PCPs from Northern Israel filled the questionnaire (42.9%), the majority were Muslim Arabs (54.5%), who gained their medical degree outside of Israel (73.8%) and practicing for over 10 years (58.8%). 64.3% of PCPs had a high workload (over 100 appointments per week), 77.1% did not know the definition of severe obesity, and 69.17% did not attend educational meetings regarding obesity during the previous year. The referral rate for MBS was 50.4% ± 23.3. Two prognostic factors that had a statistically significant effect on the referral rate for bariatric surgery were the total appointments per week, and the number of practice years. Both had a negative association. Conclusion: The knowledge and referral rates for bariatric surgery are higher among PCPs with lower workload and relatively fewer practice years. Workshops and annual training courses may fortify knowledge and awareness for the treatment of obesity, which in turn could increase the referral rate for MBS.

Original languageEnglish
JournalObesity Surgery
Early online date9 May 2024
StateE-pub ahead of print - 9 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


  • Bariatric surgery
  • Primary care physician (PCP)
  • Referral


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