Prevalence and Predictors of Obesity-Related Counseling Provided by Outpatient Psychiatrists in the United States

Psychiatr Serv. 2016 Oct 1;67(10):1156-1159. doi: 10.1176/ Epub 2016 Jul 1.


Objective: This study sought to identify rates and predictors of obesity counseling performed by outpatient psychiatrists in the United States.

Methods: The 2005-2010 National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys provided data from 7,309 outpatient psychiatry visits. Logistic regression was used to examine associations between patient, visit, and practice characteristics and outcomes.

Results: Most (81%) visits occurred in a private practice setting. Nine percent (N=657) of visits included measurement of patient body mass index (BMI); 30% of these visits were with patients who met the obesity criterion (BMI ≥30.0 kg/m2). Among visits with obese patients, 16% included exercise counseling, 22% included weight reduction counseling, and 24% included diet or nutrition counseling. Patients with obesity were more likely than patients without obesity to receive diet or nutrition counseling (p<.05) and weight reduction counseling (p<.05), but not exercise counseling. Black patients were significantly less likely to receive any form of counseling (p<.05).

Conclusions: There is a significant need to improve psychiatrists' obesity counseling.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Counseling / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Outpatients / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatry / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States
  • Young Adult