Objective: To examine the relationship between having a regular physician, results of screening tests for cardiovascular risk (hypertension, hypercholesterolemia) and efforts to lose weight among obese adults.
Design: Analysis of a population-based telephone survey (2002 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System).
Setting: Four states (Iowa, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia) in the US.
Participants: Adults (> or =18 y old) who were obese (body mass index > or =30 kg/m(2)) (unweighted n=1735).
Main outcome measures: Currently attempting to lose weight; changes in diet or exercise as strategies to lose weight.
Results: Obese individuals with a personal physician were more likely to report attempts to lose weight in the face of screening normal for hypertension or hypercholesterolemia than those without a personal physician (75.6 vs 60.5% for hypercholesterolemia, P=0.03; 74.6 vs 57.7% for hypertension, P=0.01). In adjusted models, obese individuals screening normal for hypertension but having a personal physician were significantly more likely to attempt to lose weight than individuals without a personal physician (OR 1.71, 95% CI 1.12-2.60).
Conclusions: Having a regular physician is associated with a higher likelihood of attempted weight loss among obese individuals who believe that they do not have hypertension or hypercholesterolemia, than their counterparts with no regular physician. This suggests a previously unrecognized benefit of having a personal physician.