Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Obesity diagnosis and care practices in the Veterans Health Administration.

Noël PH, Copeland LA, Pugh MJ, Kahwati L, Tsevat J, Nelson K, Wang CP, Bollinger MJ, Hazuda HP. Obesity diagnosis and care practices in the Veterans Health Administration. Journal of general internal medicine. 2010 Jun 1; 25(6):510-6.

Related HSR&D Project(s)

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


BACKGROUND: In response to dramatic increases in obesity prevalence, clinical guidelines urge health care providers to prevent and treat obesity more aggressively. OBJECTIVE: To describe the proportion of obese primary care patients receiving obesity care over a 5-year period and identify factors predicting receipt of care. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study utilizing VHA administrative data from 6 of 21 VA administrative regions. PATIENTS: Veterans seen in primary care in FY2002 with a body mass index (BMI) > or = 30 kg/m(2) based on heights and weights recorded in the electronic medical record (EMR), survival through FY2006, and active care (1 or more visits in at least 3 follow-up years FY2003-2006). MAIN MEASURES: Receipt of outpatient visits for individual or group education or instruction in nutrition, exercise, or weight management; receipt of prescriptions for any FDA-approved medications for weight reduction; and receipt of bariatric surgery. KEY RESULTS: Of 933,084 (88.6%) of 1,053,228 primary care patients who had recorded heights and weights allowing calculation of BMI, 330,802 (35.5%) met criteria for obesity. Among obese patients who survived and received active care (N = 264,667), 53.5% had a recorded obesity diagnosis, 34.1% received at least one outpatient visit for obesity-related education or counseling, 0.4% received weight-loss medications, and 0.2% had bariatric surgery between FY2002-FY2006. In multivariable analysis, patients older than 65 years (OR = 0.62; 95% CI: 0.60-0.64) were less likely to receive obesity-related education, whereas those prescribed 5-7 or 8 or more medication classes (OR = 1.41; 1.38-1.45; OR = 1.94; 1.88-2.00, respectively) or diagnosed with obesity (OR = 4.0; 3.92-4.08) or diabetes (OR = 2.23; 2.18-2.27) were more likely to receive obesity-related education. CONCLUSIONS: Substantial numbers of VHA primary care patients did not have sufficient height or weight data recorded to calculate BMI or have recorded obesity diagnoses when warranted. Receipt of obesity education varied by sociodemographic and clinical factors; providers may need to be cognizant of these when engaging patients in treatment.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.