Trends in US Adults With Overweight and Obesity Reporting Being Notified by Doctors About Body Weight Status, 1999–2016

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Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases






Background and aims

Engaging healthcare providers (HCPs) is critical for early identification of overweight and obesity. The aim of this study is to describe the trend in clinicians’ adherence to clinical recommendations to discuss body weight status with adults with overweight and obesity.

Methods and results

We analyzed the data of adults aged 20 and older with overweight or obesity from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 1999 to 2016 with a 2-year data-release cycle. The question of interest was “Has a doctor or other health professionals ever told you that you were overweight?” Adjusted biennial percentage ratio (abPR) of being notified was estimated. We observed a significant increasing trend of notification in adults with overweight [abPR = 1.04 (95% confidence interval: 1.03, 1.06), about 4% increase for every two-years] and obesity [1.01 (1.00, 1.02)]. The highest increase occurred in adults with overweight aged 20–34 [1.12 (1.08, 1.16)], however, young adults with overweight remained the group with the lowest percentage (24%, 2015–2016 survey) of notification compared to others in recent survey. Notification in adults with obesity demonstrated similar trends. In 2015–2016, among adults with obesity who visited HCPs last year, 80% of these aged 50–64 and 78% of these aged 65 and older were notified. More than 80% of adults with overweight or obesity visited HCPs at least once last year.


There was an improvement in informing patients of overweight/obesity status. However, less than a quarter of young adults with overweight were notified in recent surveys, compromising the opportunities of preventing overweight from becoming obesity in early adulthood.


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