Provider Advice and Patient Perceptions on Weight Across Five Health Systems

Am J Prev Med. 2020 Sep;59(3):e105-e114. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2020.03.013. Epub 2020 May 21.


Introduction: To improve the management of overweight and obesity in the primary care setting, an analysis of patient perceptions of weight status and predictors of weight loss attempts for those with overweight and obesity is needed.

Methods: Primary care patients (n=949) across 5 health systems in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. were surveyed in 2015; data analysis was performed in 2018. Survey data was combined with data via the electronic health record to understand patients' perceptions of weight, factors associated with weight loss efforts, and provider counseling practices.

Results: Most participants with overweight or obesity perceived themselves as weighing too much and reported trying to lose weight. Furthermore, most participants with obesity reported receiving advice to lose weight by a provider in the past 12 months. However, less than half of patients with overweight reported receiving advice to lose weight, maintain weight, or develop healthy eating and physical activity patterns from a health professional in the past 12 months. Among participants with overweight and obesity, multivariable logistic regression analysis demonstrated that the perception of being overweight and receiving healthcare advice to lose weight had the highest odds of reporting attempted weight loss (OR=5.5, 95% CI=2.7, 11.2 and OR=3.9, 95% CI=1.9, 7.9, respectively).

Conclusions: The findings emphasize the importance of provider attention to weight management counseling and identifies patients with overweight as needing increased attention by providers.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight
  • Humans
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Overweight* / therapy
  • Perception
  • Weight Loss*