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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2010 Sep;19(9):1625-34. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2009.1838.

Prevention and management of obesity in nonpregnant women and adolescents: beliefs and practices of U.S. obstetricians and gynecologists.

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  • 1Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.



To describe associations between dissemination of educational materials and U.S. obstetrician/gynecologists' prevention and management of obesity in nonpregnant patients.


Cross-sectional surveys mailed to 806 and 787 members of the American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists (ACOG) Collaborative Ambulatory Research Network in February-April 2005 and March-May 2007, respectively, before and after dissemination of ACOG Committee Opinions.


Compared with participants in 2005 (n = 437), the proportion of participants in 2007 (n = 433) who reported they would screen nonpregnant adult patients using body mass index (BMI), counsel patients most of the time about physical activity, and ever prescribed weight loss medications increased from 84% to 91%, 48% to 55%, and 40% to 48%, respectively (p < 0.05 for all comparisons). In contrast, reported frequencies of counseling or referring nonpregnant patients for weight control were not significantly different (p > 0.05). In 2007, 33% reported counseling most of the time, and 70% reported referral at least sometimes. A lower proportion of 2007 participants indicated it was likely or very likely that patients would follow advice about physical activity or diet or they can help patients lose weight (p < 0.01 for all comparisons). For adolescent patients, 43% and 24% of participants reported counseling most of the time about physical activity and sedentary activity, respectively. Reported frequency of counseling patients about activity, counseling adult patients about weight control, and prescribing medications was higher among obstetrician/gynecologists who reported reading the Committee Opinions.


Despite decreased optimism about the likelihood of patients following advice, modest improvements occurred in some obstetrician/gynecologists' obesity prevention practices between 2005 and 2007.

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