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J Natl Med Assoc. 2006 Nov;98(11):1792-6.

Mobile health unit for minority obesity education: local residents' attitudes and perceptions.

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Florida State University College of Medicine, Tallahassee, FL, USA.



To provide educational material to the Bronx community in their places of recreation as well as uncover attitudes and perceptions about the obesity epidemic.


Our medical team equipped a mobile health unit, called Vehicle Assisted Nutrition (VAN), with educational material and drove it to seven recreation sites in the Bronx. At these sites, participants completed a short survey, and our staff took body mass index (BMI) measurements. The medical team also distributed patient education materials pertaining to lifestyle modification and obesity. BMI and survey responses were compared and analyzed with statistical software.


Obesity rates at these sites averaged 29.9% normal weight, 40.2% overweight, 18% class-1 obese and 11% class-2 obese or greater. Only 22.2% of normal weight, 23.3% of overweight and 43.6% of class-1 obese respondents stated that their weight was a problem (p<0.001). Most (80.6%) of the class-2 obese or greater respondents, however, stated that their weight was a problem (p<0.001). More than 44% of normal weight, 59.4% of overweight, 71.3 of class-1 obese and 90.3% of the class-2 obese or greater participants stated they were willing to do something about it (p=0.006). Of those surveyed, 37.5% of the normal weight, 54.7% of the overweight, 56.9% of the class-1 obese and 63.6% of the class-2 obese or greater indicated that they would like our help (p=0.035). More than 66% of normal weight, 41.8% of the overweight, 56.9% of the class-1 obese, and 68.9% of the class-2 obese or greater stated that they would be interested in a class to lose weight (p=0.008).


Medical practitioners need to recognize the role of patients' attitudes about weight loss and clarify for patients the definitions of exercise.

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