Physician practice patterns of obesity diagnosis and weight-related counseling

Sara N. Bleich, Octavia Pickett-Blakely, Lisa A. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Methods: We analyzed cross-sectional clinical encounter data. Obese adults were obtained from the 2005 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (N = 2458). Results: A third of obese adults received an obesity diagnosis (28.9%) and approximately a fifth received counseling for weight reduction (17.6%), diet (25.2%), or exercise (20.5%). Women (OR = 1.54; 95% CI: 1.14, 2.09), young adults ages 18-29 (OR = 2.61; 95% CI: 1.37, 4.97), and severely/morbidly obese individuals (class II: OR 2.08; 95% CI: 1.53, 2.83; class III: OR 4.36; 95% CI: 3.09, 6.16) were significantly more likely to receive an obesity diagnosis. One of the biggest predictors of weight-related counseling was an obesity diagnosis (weight reduction: OR = 5.72; 95% CI: 4.01, 8.17; diet: OR = 2.89; 95% CI: 2.05, 4.06; exercise: OR = 2.54; 95% CI: 1.67, 3.85). Other predictors of weight-related counseling included seeing a cardiologist/other internal medicine specialist, a preventive visit, or spending more time with the doctor (p< 0.05). Conclusions: Most obese patients do not receive an obesity diagnosis or weight-related counseling. Practice implications: Preventive visits may provide a key opportunity for obese patients to receive weight-related counseling from their physician.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-129
Number of pages7
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011


  • Diagnosis
  • Obesity
  • Physician practice patterns
  • Weight-related counseling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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