Engaging practice nurses in obesity management – a clinical academic partnership to pilot the Counterweight Program

Jodi Gray, Veronica Hunter-Riviere, Hossein Haji Ali Afzali, Mark Harris, Catherine Spooner, Hazel Ross, Anna Bell-Higgs, Jonathan Karnon
Publication type: 
Conference presentation
Stream 3 Implementation of obesity guidelines in PHC
Presentation slides available here.
2015 PHC Research Conference, Adelaide, 29-31 July 2015

Aims and rationale

Developed in the UK, the Counterweight Program offers a structured, evidence-based model for weight management delivered by practice nurses. The Northern Adelaide Medicare Local (NAML) are concerned about obesity in the region. In a collaboration between researchers and NAML, we are undertaking a pilot study of the Counterweight Program to determine its feasibility and acceptability to Australian general practices and patients.


A university-based researcher and NAML’s Chronic Disease Liaison Officer are leading the day-to-day co-ordination of the pilot study. NAML’s consumer group provided feedback, and practice recruitment was launched at a NAML weight management event. Six nurses from three practices received online training and mentoring from an experienced Counterweight dietitian. Nurses recruited patients and delivered Counterweight over six sessions. Sessions cover healthy lifestyle topics and incorporate behavioural modification techniques. Patient data is being extracted from medical records using an automated tool developed by NAML.


Bi-directional support and collaboration between researchers and NAML has been vital in rolling out the pilot study. The perceived value of upskilling practice nurses to deliver Counterweight is high. To date, practices have been enthusiastic and positive about the online training. Patient recruitment, program delivery and evaluation are ongoing.

Relevance to policy, research and/or practice needs

The collaboration has ensured robust research that shares expertise, and fits with the needs of the region and the demands of general practice. The applied collaborative process has helped bridge the gap between the world of the researcher and the world of general practice.