News and events Tilburg University

Better weight recording of obese patients is desirable

Published: 23rd October 2019 Last updated: 13th November 2019

Weight reduction in overweight patients is limited after a lifestyle intervention. The same applies after treatment with a dietitian: three-quarters of overweight patients do not achieve the recommended weight reduction of 5% (or more) of their starting weight. The recording of overweight also falls short. This is the conclusion of Lisa Verberne in her dissertation 'Management of overweight and obesity in primary healthcare', which she defends on October 30 at Tilburg University.

Verberne studied the health and treatment of overweight and obese patients in general and dietary practices in the Netherlands. She found that the Body Mass Index (BMI) is often not recorded in electronic health records. Even in patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes mellitus and COPD, weight is not always recorded. In addition, many patients quit their treatment with a dietitian prematurely.

Promoting a healthy lifestyle

About half of the Dutch adults is overweight or obese. Some 1.6 billion euros is spent annually on diseases related to overweight, such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. In recent years, much attention has been paid to the prevention of overweight. For example, the government has drawn up the Nationaal Preventie Akkoord (National Prevention Agreement) to reduce excess weight. The agreement contains an extensive package measures to promote a healthy lifestyle. Since January 1, 2019, health insurers have been reimbursing the so-called ‘combined lifestyle intervention’. General practitioners can refer adult clients with a health risk to providers of these lifestyle interventions, such as lifestyle coaches, dieticians and physiotherapists.

Data from electronic patient records

The research was conducted with data from Nivel Zorgregistraties Eerste Lijn (The Nivel Primary Care Database). Nivel continuously collects the pseudonymised, non-reducible data from the electronic health records of patients of hundreds of primary care providers throughout the country.


Verberne recommends that general practitioners adequately record the weight of overweight patients. And dietitians should pay more attention to improving therapy compliance.

Lisa Verberne (Arnhem, 1985) studied in Wageningen, where she obtained her Master's degree in Nutritional Health and Public Health Epidemiology in 2009. She then worked until 2011 as a research assistant / junior researcher at the Nutrition & Health department at Wageningen University. In 2012 she started her PhD research at Nivel and Tranzo.


Lisa Verberne will obtain her PhD on Wednesday October 30, 2019 at Tilburg University on her dissertation entitled Management of overweight and obesity in primary healthcare (auditorium, 1.30 pm). Supervisor: Roland Friele (Tranzo, Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences). Further information: Telephone details as well as a review copy are available on request via or +31134664000.