Health Professionals' perceptions of insurance coverage for weight loss services

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To examine health professionals' (HPs) perceptions of top challenges and solutions in obesity care, and whether these perceptions differ by patient-panel income level. Methods: A 2014 national cross-sectional survey of HPs in nutrition, nursing, behavioural or mental health, exercise and pharmacy was analysed. The dependent variables were identification of insurance coverage for their services as a top (1) challenge or (2) solution for obesity care. The independent variable was self-reported income distribution of HPs' patient panels, which was dichotomized as ‘lower-income’ if ‘mostly low income’ or ‘higher-income’ if ‘mostly not low income/evenly split between low-income and not low-income’. Multivariate logistic regression with survey weights was used. Results: Among 450 HPs, mean age was 44.9 years; 86% were women; 44% had lower-income panels. Overall, 25% of HPs endorsed insurance coverage as a current challenge, and 58% viewed improved coverage as a solution. HPs with lower and higher-income patient panels were similarly likely to identify coverage as a challenge (28% vs. 20%, p = 0.33) and benefits expansion as a solution (47% vs. 64%, p = 0.08). Conclusions: Most HPs perceive insurance coverage for their services to benefit patient weight loss. While the Affordable Care Act expands obesity counselling coverage to many lower-income patients, legislation increasing access to benefits for all patients regardless of insurance type may be beneficial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-389
Number of pages6
JournalObesity Science and Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2017



  • Health policy
  • health services
  • obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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