Disparities in who receives weight-loss advice from a health care provider: Does income make a difference?

Cori Lorts, Punam Ohri-Vachaspati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Introduction The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all patients be screened for obesity and, if needed, be provided weightloss advice. However, the prevalence of such advice is low and varies by patient demographics. This study aimed to describe the determinants of receiving weight-loss advice among a sample with a high proportion of low-income, racial/ethnic minority individuals. Methods Data were collected from a telephone survey of 1,708 households in 2009 and 2010 in 5 cities in New Jersey. Analyses were limited to 1,109 overweight or obese adults. Multivariate logistic regression determined the association of participants' characteristics with receiving weight-loss advice from their health care provider. Two models were used to determine differences by income and insurance status. Results Of all overweight or obese respondents, 35% reported receiving advice to lose weight. Receiving advice was significantly associated with income in multivariate analysis. Compared with those with an income at or below 100% of the federal poverty level (FPL), those within 200% to 399% of the FPL had 1.60 higher odds of receiving advice (P = .02), and those with an income of 400% or more of the FPL had 1.73 higher odds of receiving advice (P = .03). The strength of the association did not change after adjusting for health insurance. Conclusion Income is a significant predictor of whether or not overweight or obese adults receive weight-loss advice after adjustment for demographic variables, health status, and insurance status. Further work is needed to examine why disparities exist in who receives weightloss advice. Health care providers should provide weight-loss advice to all patients, regardless of income.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberpcd13.160183
JournalPreventing Chronic Disease
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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