Weight loss advice U.S. obese adults receive from health care professionals

Prev Med. 2008 Dec;47(6):587-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.09.007. Epub 2008 Sep 25.


Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of obese patients advised by health professionals about weight loss and weight loss strategies.

Methods: A national sample of 1873 obese adults (body mass index > or = 30 kg/m(2), > or = 18 years) was surveyed. Multivariable linear regression was used to determine characteristics associated with receiving weight loss advice, and advice on diet and physical activity. Linear regression was used to evaluate characteristics associated with how much weight loss was advised.

Results: Among obese adults visiting a physician (past 12 months), 39.0% reported being advised to lose weight. Men had lower odds of being advised to lose weight. Adults 40-49 years of age, reporting fair/poor health, and chronic diseases had greater odds of being advised to lose weight compared to referent groups. Among adults receiving advice on amount of weight to lose, a mean 20.9% total body weight reduction was recommended. Of those advised to lose weight, 64.2% were told to change their diet, 85.7% to increase physical activity, and 58.5% to use both strategies.

Conclusions: Obese adults should be advised by health professionals more frequently about weight loss and the use of caloric reduction and increased physical activity as the recommended weight loss strategy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diet*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Personnel
  • Health Status
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Prevalence
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Weight Loss*
  • Young Adult