Skip to main content

30-11-2010 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Successful weight loss associated with overweight diagnosis


Free abstract

MedWire News: Diagnosis of overweight status by a physician may encourage obese adults to attempt and successfully lose weight, a US study suggests.

Francisco Lopez-Jimenez (Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota, USA) and colleagues say that in a nationally representative sample of the US population, there was a significant association between people diagnosed by their physician as overweight and a weight loss of ≥5% of total body weight.

Writing in the American Heart Journal, the team says: "Our results underscore the important role that physicians may play in promoting weight loss in patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD)."

The researchers investigated the effects of sociodemographic, motivational, and clinical factors on weight loss using data on 16,731 adults who had responded to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2004.

Participants answered a questionnaire on their history of weight loss and weight-loss behaviors, and this data was used to assess patients' awareness of overweight status, desire to weigh less, attempted weight loss in the past year, attempts at maintaining present weight, and successful weight loss.

Successful weight loss was defined as an intentional weight loss of ≥5% of their total body weight in the past year.

Of the 907 participants with CVD (coronary heart disease, angina pectoris/angina, myocardial infarction, stroke, or congestive heart failure) and central obesity (waist circumference ≥102 cm for males and ≥88 cm for females), 78% were aware of their overweight status.

Among these, 97% wanted to weigh less, but only 57% had attempted weight loss in the past year, and only 13.3% had successfully lost a significant amount of weight.

Lopez-Jimenez et al say: "It appears that obese adults with cardiac disease and central obesity know that losing weight would be beneficial, but for unknown reasons, most do not start a weight loss program."

However, the team shows that physician diagnosis of overweight is associated with significant weight loss; individuals who were informed by their physician of their overweight status were almost three times more likely to have lost ≥5% of their body weight, compared with those not informed.

The researchers suggest that "increased recognition of obesity in cardiovascular patients and counseling by physicians may promote weight loss."

In addition, they note that Hispanic ethnicity, increasing income, diabetes, hypertension, increasing body mass index, not having experienced significant weight loss before the preceding year, and desiring weight loss were all significantly associated with successful weight loss in age- and gender- adjusted models.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Nikki Withers