Patient Perspectives on Obesity Management: Need for Greater Discussion of BMI and Weight-Loss Options Beyond Diet and Exercise Especially in Patients With Diabetes

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Endocrine practice


Objective: To identify perceptions of obesity management in patients with and without diabetes. Methods: A 48-question survey was administered in 2018 to our Endocrinology Clinic's adult patients with a body mass index (BMI) >30 kg/m(2). Chi-squared or Fisher's exact tests were used to compare variables between groups. Results: Of 146 respondents, 105 had diabetes and 41 did not. Most respondents were female (61.4%), African American (66.4%), with an income <$50,000 (58.6%). Those with diabetes had significantly greater comorbidities of hypertension, high cholesterol, and arthritis. Over 90% in both groups agreed that obesity is related to hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and early death. Only 48% were aware of their BMI and only 30.5% with diabetes and 41.5% without diabetes perceived themselves to be obese. Over 60% in each group reported discussion of diet and exercise with their providers whereas few in both groups reported referral to a formal weight-loss program (18.9%) or to a specialty that manages obesity (4.2%), or discussion of anti-obesity medications (11.2%) or bariatric surgery (8.4%). Reported concerns with anti-obesity medications and bariatric surgery included lack of knowledge and side effects or complications. Conclusion: These findings revealed excellent patient awareness of obesity as a health problem but misperception of obese status and unawareness of BMI. Presence of diabetes and other comorbidities did not result in greater discussion of weight-loss methods beyond diet and exercise. Increased patient education and discussion of specific weight-loss services, anti-obesity medications, and bariatric surgery are needed.

PubMed ID



ePub ahead of print