Trends in obesity-related counseling in primary care: 1995-2004

Donna D McAlpine, Amy R. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE:: We sought to ascertain whether the percentage of visits in which physicians provided obesity-related counseling services increased between 1995 and 2004. METHOD:: Data came from the 1995 to 2004 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, an annual national survey of visits to office-based physicians. Analyses are restricted to visits by adults to a primary care physician (PCP; general/family or internal medicine). The main outcome measure is the percentage of visits to physicians where patients were counseled about exercise, diet/nutrition or weight loss. RESULTS:: Sample sizes ranged from 9,583 to 14,071. In 2003/2004, approximately 20% of visits to PCPs included counseling for diet/nutrition, 14% for exercise, and 6% for weight loss. Approximately 24% of visits included at least one of these types of counseling. The odds of receiving counseling for any of these services were 22% lower in 2001/2002 and 18% lower in 2003/2004 compared with 1995/1996. Patients who went to the doctor for weight-related concerns or with an obesity-related diagnosis were more likely to receive counseling than the general population. Longer visits were associated with greater probability of obesity-related counseling. CONCLUSIONS:: Obesity-related counseling does not appear to be a substantial part of the services provided by physicians. Further efforts in developing interventions that can be used by physicians and demonstrating their effectiveness within clinical practice are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-329
Number of pages8
JournalMedical care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2007


  • Counseling
  • Obesity
  • Primary health care


Dive into the research topics of 'Trends in obesity-related counseling in primary care: 1995-2004'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this