Characteristics of Physician Office Visits for Obesity by Adults Aged 20 and Over: United States, 2012

Obesity, a complex and costly condition, affects more than one-third of adults in the United States. It raises the risk of morbidity from chronic diseases and is a major cause of preventable death.

A new NCHS report examines health care visits for obesity by adults aged 20 and over in 2012. A visit for obesity is one where the provider listed obesity as one of the diagnoses for the visit. National estimates on the assessment of risk factors and the provision of health-education services at these visits are presented.

The main implication of these findings relates to the provision of weight-related health-education services at visits for obesity. While this type of education was offered relatively  more often at visits for obesity, it was offered at less than one-half of those visits.

This finding can inform efforts in health care settings related to providing diet and nutrition, exercise, and weight-reduction health- education services, especially when obesity is a listed diagnosis.

Findings:

  • In 2012, 11 million visits, or an annual visit rate of 49 visits per 1,000 persons, to physician offices for obesity were made by adults aged 20 and over.
  • Annual visit rates for obesity varied by age and sex.
    Additional chronic conditions were listed more frequently at visits for obesity than at visits for other diagnoses.
  • Visits for obesity were 25% more likely to include assessments of height and weight and of blood pressure, and more than 50% more likely to include testing of blood glucose and lipids, compared with visits for other diagnoses.
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