Animal obesity: what insights can a ‘one health’ approach offer when it comes to vets ‘making every contact count’

Lynden, Jenny; Hollands, Teresa and Ogden, Jane (2022). Animal obesity: what insights can a ‘one health’ approach offer when it comes to vets ‘making every contact count’. Veterinary Record (In Press).

Abstract

There is an overweight/obesity crisis in both human and companion animal populations globally. Veterinarians have an ethical obligation to protect animal welfare and, therefore, have a duty to intervene by supporting their clients in changing care plans to mitigate and prevent pet overweight/obesity. Currently, there is limited evidence in veterinary contexts for when and how this can be done effectively. In contrast, a more comprehensive literature has been developed for how human health care practitioners ‘make every contact count’ (MECC). This review begins by briefly exploring the cross-species multifactorial causes of overweight/obesity, before considering the literature regarding whether veterinarians reliably address overweight/obesity, and the obstacles they encounter. The review then explores the evidence from human healthcare contexts in terms of how person-centred and health ‘coaching-style’ MECC interventions have supported weight management in adult and child populations, and the barriers practitioners face when implementing these interventions. The final section interprets this literature to provide a fresh ‘lens’ through which veterinarian concerns can be understood. Recommendations are made for enhancing veterinarians’ capacity to develop the knowledge and skills needed for successful outcomes when MECC. Opportunities for developing local multi-stakeholder/agency teams taking a ‘one health’ approach are considered.

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