Shared medical appointments (SMAs) may help mitigate some of the barriers for managing obesity in primary care. The primary aim of this systematic review was to measure the effect of weight loss SMAs.
Systematic searches using keywords and Medical Subject Headings for overweight, obesity, and SMAs were conducted in the CENTRAL, Medline Complete, PsycINFO, Scopus, CINAHL, EMBASE, and Web of Science databases with no date limits. Risk of bias was assessed using the Effective Health Practice Project Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies.
Fifteen studies involving weight loss SMAs in adults and children were identified. Six studies had controls. Inconsistency in reporting weight loss or weight change in controlled studies meant that data could not be pooled for meta-analysis. Results from individual studies indicated that SMAs can support adult patients to achieve significant weight loss. Women and older adults were more likely to take up SMA invitations. Results from the 5 studies involving children were less conclusive. Studies involving participants of a higher socioeconomic status tended to report lower attrition than studies involving participants who experienced disadvantage. These findings should be interpreted with caution as all but 1 included study was assessed as being weak in quality.
Overall, SMAs may be of benefit to address obesity in primary care, particularly for women and older adults. Appropriately designed prospective and controlled studies are required to engage their target audience and to assess whether SMAs are superior to other weight loss options in primary care.

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