Overweight, obesity, and associated disease burden in the Veterans Affairs ambulatory care population

Eric M. Nowicki, Charles J. Billington, Allen S. Levine, Heidi Hoover, Aviva Must, Elena Naumova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background: This report describes the prevalence of overweight and obesity and estimates the disease burden associated with excess weight in ambulatory Veterans Affairs (VA) patients. Methods: Height and weight were measured, and self-reported age and self-reported morbidities were obtained for 1,731 patients. Prevalence odds ratios explain the association of self-reported disease on increasing weight status category using body mass index. Results: Seventy-five percent of the participants were overweight or obese. Obesity was significantly higher in the younger patients. Graded increases in odds ratios were observed with increasing severity of overweight and obesity for all morbidities, except heart disease. Conclusion: Overweight, obesity, and associated disease burden are prevalent in the VA health care system, particularly in younger VA patients, which may contribute to the higher prevalence of certain morbidities observed in VA populations compared with private sector outpatients. Department of Veterans Affairs should emphasize obesity prevention and treatment during the design and implementation of ambulatory care services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-256
Number of pages5
JournalMilitary medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003


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