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Prev Med. 2008 Oct;47(4):394-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.06.002. Epub 2008 Jun 10.

Impact of USPSTF practice guidelines on clinician weight loss counseling as reported by obese patients.

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University of Arkansas at Medical Sciences, Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, Health Behavior and Health Education, USA.



This study assessed the impact of the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines recommending that clinicians provide weight loss counseling (WLC) to all their obese patients.


Pre-guideline (n=5524) and post-guideline (n=11,569) datasets were constructed from 2000 and 2005 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System survey data from eleven states which administered the weight control module in both years. Responses from obese (BMI> or =30), non-pregnant adults who had a check-up in the previous year were analyzed to determine proportion reporting WLC in the two surveys. Associations of WLC with selected demographics and health characteristics were examined, as well as with reports of weight loss efforts.


Less than half of both pre- and post-guideline obese respondents reported receiving WLC from their clinician. There were no significant differences in adjusted odds of receiving WLC when comparing pre-guideline and post-guideline data. Obese respondents reporting WLC also had higher odds of reporting current efforts to lose weight compared to those reporting no WLC.


The results suggest the USPSTF obesity-related guidelines have had little impact on clinician WLC behavior. Interventions to improve WLC by clinicians for their obese patients should be developed as practice guidelines alone do not appear to elicit appropriate counseling behavior.

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