Who is Counseled to Lose Weight? Survey Results and Anthropometric Data from 3,149 Lower Socioeconomic Women
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Because obesity is a grave public health concern, this study examined the percentage of disadvantaged women who recalled ever having received weight loss advice from a healthcare provider and factors associated with such advice. This study was part of a 5-clinic, cervical cancer prevention trial. Patients not immediately post-partum completed a Spanish/English survey; height and weight were also obtained. Of the 3,149 respondents (response rate 83%), 2,138 (68%) were overweight or obese (body mass index (BMI) ≥ 25); 94% reported a household income of <$35,000/year; 69% were Hispanic; 10% non-Hispanic black; and 40% completed the survey in Spanish. Only one-third reported ever having been told to lose weight. Based on BMI, these rates were 15% in the 25-29.9 range (overweight); 34% within 30-34.9; 57% within 35-39.9; and 73% ≥ 40. In univariate analyses, among overweight women, diabetes or English-speaking was associated with weight loss advice. In multivariate analyses, being older, more educated, and diabetic were associated with such advice. 48% of non-Hispanic whites, 31% of non-Hispanic blacks, and 29% of Hispanic had a home scale. Among disadvantaged women, obesity alone does not determine who recalls weight loss advice. Language barriers and lack of a home scale merit further study to address obesity.
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