Speaking of weight: How patients and primary care clinicians initiate weight loss counseling

John G. Scott, Deborah Cohen, Barbara DiCicco-Bloom, A. John Orzano, Patrice Gregory, Sue Flocke, Lisa Maxwell, Benjamin Crabtree

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

87 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background. Obesity is epidemic in the US and other industrialized countries and contributes significantly to population morbidity and mortality. Primary care physicians see a substantial portion of the obese population, yet rarely counsel patients to lose weight. Methods. Descriptive field notes of outpatient visits collected as part of a multimethod comparative case study were used to study patterns of physician-patient communication around weight control in 633 encounters in family practices in a Midwestern state. Results. Sixty-eight percent of adults and 35% of children were overweight. Excess weight was mentioned in 17% of encounters with overweight patients, while weight loss counseling occurred with 11% of overweight adults and 8% of overweight children. In weight loss counseling encounters, patients formulated weight as a problem by making it a reason for visit or explicitly or implicitly asking for help with weight loss. Clinicians did so by framing weight as a medical problem in itself or as an exacerbating factor for another medical problem. Conclusions. Strategies that increase the likelihood of patients identifying weight as a problem, or that provide clinicians with a way to "medicalize" the patient's obesity, are likely to increase the frequency of weight loss counseling in primary care visits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)819-827
Number of pages9
JournalPreventive Medicine
Volume38
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Counseling
Weight Loss
Primary Health Care
Patient Care
Weights and Measures
Obesity
Family Practice
Primary Care Physicians
Developed Countries
Population
Outpatients
Communication
Morbidity
Physicians
Mortality

Keywords

  • Counseling
  • Obesity
  • Primary health care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Speaking of weight : How patients and primary care clinicians initiate weight loss counseling. / Scott, John G.; Cohen, Deborah; DiCicco-Bloom, Barbara; Orzano, A. John; Gregory, Patrice; Flocke, Sue; Maxwell, Lisa; Crabtree, Benjamin.

In: Preventive Medicine, Vol. 38, No. 6, 06.2004, p. 819-827.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Scott, JG, Cohen, D, DiCicco-Bloom, B, Orzano, AJ, Gregory, P, Flocke, S, Maxwell, L & Crabtree, B 2004, 'Speaking of weight: How patients and primary care clinicians initiate weight loss counseling', Preventive Medicine, vol. 38, no. 6, pp. 819-827. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2004.01.001
Scott, John G. ; Cohen, Deborah ; DiCicco-Bloom, Barbara ; Orzano, A. John ; Gregory, Patrice ; Flocke, Sue ; Maxwell, Lisa ; Crabtree, Benjamin. / Speaking of weight : How patients and primary care clinicians initiate weight loss counseling. In: Preventive Medicine. 2004 ; Vol. 38, No. 6. pp. 819-827.
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