Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 20, Issue 9, pp 814–818

Trends in professional advice to lose weight among obese adults, 1994 to 2000

  • J. Elizabeth Jackson
  • Mark P. Doescher
  • Barry G. Saver
  • L. Gary Hart
Original Article

DOI: 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2005.0172.x

Cite this article as:
Jackson, J.E., Doescher, M.P., Saver, B.G. et al. J GEN INTERN MED (2005) 20: 814. doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2005.0172.x

Abstract

CONTEXT: Obesity is a fast-growing threat to public health in the U.S., but information on trends in professional advice to lose weight is limited.

OBJECTIVE: We studied whether rising obesity prevalence in the U.S. was accompanied by an increasing trend in professional advice to lose weight among obese adults.

DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS: We used the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a cross-sectional prevalence study, from 1994 (n= 10,705), 1996 (n=13,800), 1998 (n=18,816), and 2000 (n=26,454) to examine changes in advice reported by obese adults seen for primary care.

MEASUREMENTS: Self-reported advice from a health care professional to lose weight.

RESULTS: From 1994 to 2000, the proportion of obese persons receiving advice to lose weight fell from 44.0% to 40.0%. Among obese persons not graduating from high school, advice declined from 41.4% to 31.8%; and for those with annual household incomes below $25,000, advice dropped from 44.3% to 38.1%. In contrast, the prevalence of advice among obese persons with a college degree or in the highest income group remained relatively stable and high (>45%) over the study period.

CONCLUSIONS: Disparities in professional advice to lose weight associated with income and educational attainment increased from 1994 to 2000. There is a need for mechanisms that allow health care professionals to devote sufficient attention to weight control and to link with evidence-based weight loss interventions, especially those that target groups most at risk for obesity.

Key Words

physician behaviorhealth care deliveryobesityweight managementsocioeconomic status

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Elizabeth Jackson
    • 1
    • 3
  • Mark P. Doescher
    • 3
  • Barry G. Saver
    • 3
  • L. Gary Hart
    • 3
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.WWAMI Rural Health Research CenterSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Family MedicineUniversity of WashingtonSeattle