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Rising Need for Weight Loss Counseling in Arthritic Patients

The CDC's May 4th MMWR reports that from 2002 to 2014, the prevalence of health care provider counseling for weight loss among adults with arthritis and overweight or obesity increased by 10% (from 35% to 45%).

Weight loss among adults with arthritis and overweight or obesity can improve pain, function, mobility, and health-related quality of life, and reduce disability.

Among the 54.4 million adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis in the United States, 32.7% are overweight and 38.1% are obese. Moreover obesity is more prevalent among persons with arthritis than among those who do not have arthritis.

The Healthy People 2020 target for health care provider counseling for weight loss among persons with arthritis and overweight or obesity is 45.3%. Important, as overweight or obese adults who receive weight-loss counseling from a provider are approximately four times more likely to attempt to lose weight than are those who do not receive counseling.

A recent CDC analysis of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data, shows that provider counseling for weight loss increased by 10.4 percentage points from 2002 (35.1%) to 2014 (45.5%). These improvements are encouraging; however, approximately 75% of adults with overweight and 50% of those with class 1 obesity are not receiving provider weight-loss counseling.

Findings of the current report also indicate that those who are not receiving counseling for weight loss might also not be receiving counseling for physical activity. 

Strategies to increase provider counseling for weight loss include health system interventions (e.g., electronic medical record clinical decision supports) and provider training.

Disclosures: 
The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject

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