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BMJ Open. 2013 Nov 4;3(11):e003693. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003693.

The impact of a health professional recommendation on weight loss attempts in overweight and obese British adults: a cross-sectional analysis.

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Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK.



To examine the effect that health professional (HP) advice to lose weight has on overweight and obese adults' motivation to lose weight and attempts to lose weight.


Cross-sectional survey.


Great Britain.


810 overweight or obese (body mass index ≥25 kg/m(2)) adults.


Participants were asked if they had ever received HP advice to lose weight and reported their desire to weigh less (ideal weight ≤95% of current weight) and whether they were attempting to lose weight.


Only 17% of overweight and 42% of obese respondents recalled ever having received HP advice to lose weight. HP advice was associated with wanting to weigh less (89% vs 61% among those not receiving advice) and attempting to lose weight (68% vs 37%). In multivariable analyses, HP advice to lose weight was associated with increased odds of wanting to weigh less (OR=3.71, 95% CI 2.10 to 6.55) and attempting to lose weight (OR=3.53, 95% CI 2.44 to 5.10) independent of demographic characteristics and weight status.


HP advice to lose weight appears to increase motivation to lose weight and weight loss behaviour, but only a minority of overweight or obese adults receive such advice. Better training for HPs in delivering brief weight counselling could offer an opportunity to improve obese patients' motivation to lose weight.


Doctor Advice; Health Professional Advice; Lose Weight; Primary Care; Weight Loss

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