Doctors remain remiss in advising overweight patients about healthy eating

Research Activities, July 2010, No. 359

Only about half of obese American adults were advised by their doctors to cut down on fatty foods in 2006, a rate that had not significantly changed since 2002, according to the latest data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The Agency's survey also found that:

  • Obese black and Hispanic adults were less likely than whites to receive advice on food consumption (45 percent and 42 percent, respectively, compared with 52 percent).
  • Poor obese adults were less likely than poor higher-income adults to be advised to cut down on high-fat, high-cholesterol foods, regardless of race or ethnicity (43 percent vs. 57 percent).
  • Obese adults who did not finish high school also were less likely than those with a college education to be advised to cut down on fat (46 percent vs. 53 percent).

Fatty foods add to weight gain and can clog arteries, thereby increasing a person's risk of heart attack or stoke. Black and Hispanic adults have higher obesity rates than whites, as do poor adults and those with limited education.

These findings are based on data from pages 77 to 79 in the 2009 National Healthcare Disparities Report, which examines the disparities in Americans' access to and quality of health care, with breakdowns by race, ethnicity, income, and education.

Current as of July 2010
Internet Citation: Doctors remain remiss in advising overweight patients about healthy eating: Research Activities, July 2010, No. 359. July 2010. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/jul10/0710RA27.html