Differences in obesity management among physicians

Hemalkumar Mehta, Jeetvan Patel, Rohan Parikh, Susan Abughosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Despite the strong recommendations of guidelines, intensive obesity management is not offered to all obese patients. This study aimed to examine differences in obesity management between primary care physicians (PCPs) and non-PCPs. A cross-sectional study was performed using the 2006-2007 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. Adults (age ≥ 20 years) with obesity (body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2 or obesity diagnosis using International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification code 278) were included in the study cohort. A multivariate logistic regression model was constructed to examine differences between PCPs and non-PCPs (primary independent variable) for obesity management (dependent variable) while controlling for predisposing, enabling, and need characteristics per Anderson's behavioral model. In all, 32.66% of 214 million visits by obese patients in 2006-2007 resulted in obesity management. PCPs were 2.38 times more likely to provide obesity management compared to non-PCPs (odds ratio [OR] = 2.37; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.69, 3.36). Patients who had preventive visits (OR = 2.23; 95% CI: 1.50, 3.32) and chronic visits (OR = 1.93; 95% CI: 1.46, 2.55) were more likely to receive obesity management than patients who had acute visits. More time spent with physician, more comorbid conditions, and BMI ≥ 40 significantly increased the likelihood of receiving obesity management, while older age and smoking reduced the likelihood of receiving obesity management. Only one third of ambulatory care visits in 2006-2007 resulted in obesity management. A difference in obesity management was noted between PCPs and non-PCPs. Future research should aim to identify the reasons for these observed differences, ensure equitable access, and address the undertreatment of obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-292
Number of pages6
JournalPopulation Health Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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