Overweight/obesity and weight-related treatment among patients in U.S. federally supported health centers.Obes Res Clin Pract. 2013 Sep-Oct; 7(5):e377-90.OR
We obtained the prevalence of overweight/obesity, weight-loss attempts, and weight-related counseling and treatment among U.S. adults who sought care in federally funded community health centers. We investigated whether racial/ethnic and gender disparities existed for these measures.
Data came from the 2009 Health Center Patient Survey. Measures included body mass index (BMI), self-perceived weight, weight-loss attempts, being told of a weight problem, receipt of weight-related counseling, nutritionist referrals, weight-loss prescriptions, and cholesterol checks. We conducted bivariate analyses to determine distributions by race/ethnicity and gender, then ran logistic regressions to examine the effects of several sociodemographic factors on weight-loss attempts and on being told of a weight problem.
Overall, 76% of adult patients seen in health centers were overweight or obese (BMI ≥ 25.0 kg/m(2)); 55% of overweight patients, and 87% of obese patients correctly perceived themselves as overweight. There were no racial/ethnic differences in BMI categories or self-perceptions of weight. Females were more likely than males to be obese and also more likely to perceive themselves as overweight. About 60% of overweight/obese patients reported trying to lose weight in the past year. There were no racial/ethnic disparities favoring non-Hispanic White patients in weight-related treatment. Women were more likely than men to receive referrals to a nutritionist or weight-loss prescriptions. Overweight/obese patients had higher adjusted odds of a past-year weight-loss attempt if they perceived themselves as overweight (OR = 3.30, p < 0.0001), were female (OR = 1.95, p < 0.05), African American (OR = 3.34, p < 0.05), or Hispanic/Latino (OR = 2.14, p < 0.05). Overweight/obese patients had higher odds of being told they had a weight problem if they were Hispanic/Latino (OR = 2.56, p < 0.05) or if they had two or more chronic conditions (OR = 2.77, p < 0.01).
Patients seen in community health centers have high rates of overweight and obesity, even higher than the general U.S. population. Efforts to address weight problems during primary care visits are needed to reduce the burden of obesity and its sequellae among health center patients.