Patient Care

Some Patients With Diabetes Aren’t Getting Needed Weight Advice

Researchers find that patients in certain demographics are more likely to receive advice about weight management than do others.


About two-thirds of overweight and obese patients are not getting the advice they need from their health care providers (HCPs) about weight management, according to a study by Arizona State researchers, reported in the CDC’s Preventing Chronic Disease .

The researchers conducted a phone survey of 1,109 overweight or obese adults, asking whether a HCP had in the previous 12 months given them advice about their weight. A “concerning” finding, the researchers say: Only 35% of the respondents reported getting advice.

Related: Confronting the Diabetes Epidemic

As body mass index (BMI) increased, so did the likelihood of receiving weight-loss advice: 22% of those with a BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 received advice vs 63% of those with a BMI of 40.0 or higher. Hispanics were the most likely of the 3 racial/ethnic groups to report receiving advice from a HCP. The researchers say other studies have suggested that a higher prevalence of weight problems among African Americans and Hispanics draws more attention from HCPs for counseling.

High-risk patients, such as the extremely obese or those with comorbidities, are most likely to receive weight-loss advice, the researchers say. But demographic factors also come into play: People with high levels of education are more likely than those with low levels to receive advice, and middle-aged people are more likely to get advice than are younger or older patients.

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Patients in the lowest-income groups had significantly lower odds of receiving weight-loss advice compared with those in higher income groups. Adjusting for health insurance did not change the results. That finding is “problematic,” the researchers say, because people with the lowest incomes tend to have poorer health outcomes than that of those with higher incomes.

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