Study Shows Only 55% of People with Obesity Have Received an Obesity Diagnosis

November 4, 2016

November 04, 2016

A new US study shows that only 55% of people with obesity have received a formal obesity diagnosis.   The study, by Awareness, Care & Treatment In Obesity Management (ACTION), was designed to generate insights to improve obesity care, education and support for the nearly 79 million people in the US living with obesity, a condition that was recognised as a chronic disease by the American Medical Association in 2013.   The study found that most people with obesity (PwO) (65%) perceived obesity as a disease; however, most (82%) considered weight loss to be "completely" their responsibility. While PwO (73%) reported that they had discussed weight with an HCP, 36% indicated they did not seek support from their HCP for weight loss. Another significant barrier to care is an inconsistent HCP-patient dialogue about weight management.   Although HCPs (72%) felt they had "a responsibility to actively contribute" to patients' weight loss efforts, only 55% of PwO reported receiving an obesity diagnosis from an HCP. Also, only 16% of PwO reported having a follow-up appointment with their HCP following initial conversations about obesity management, and whereas HCPs said they were "comfortable" having obesity management conversations, their efforts were often deprioritized due to limited time.   The study also found that despite several "serious" weight loss attempts, only 23% of PwO reported a 10% weight loss during the past three years, and of those, 44% maintained weight loss for more than one year.   "Obesity must be understood as a serious, often progressive disease requiring both prevention and treatment strategies to bring it under control", said Dr Lee Kaplan, director of the Obesity, Metabolism and Nutrition Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center and ACTION steering committee member.    The findings were presented at Obesity Week 2016 (Oct 31-Nov 4, 2016), the fourth annual combined congress of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and The Obesity Society.   www.ACTIONStudy.com