Comparison of physician weight loss goals for obese male and female patients

Academic Article


  • Objective: The aim of this study was to compare physicians' weight loss goals for obese male and female patients. Method: This study was conducted in 2008-2009 in Florida, USA. Physicians (N = 108; 79.6% primary care specialty) reviewed two hypothetical clinical scenarios that were identical with respect to health status and obesity (BMI = 33 kg/m2) but differed in the gender of the patient. Physicians then completed a survey about the need for weight loss, intentions to provide weight loss counseling, and weight loss goals (i.e., ideal, successful, and acceptable goal weights) for each hypothetical patient. Results: Physicians strongly agreed that both patients should lose weight and physician counseling and/or treatment referrals would be appropriate; however, physician weight loss goals for male and female patients differed. BMI values calculated from the suggested ideal, successful, and acceptable weight goals were significantly lower for female patients than male patients, 22.0 vs. 25. 2 kg/m2; 25.4 vs. 27. 8 kg/m2; and 27.0 vs. 29. 2 kg/m2, respectively, P values < .001. Conclusions: Physicians endorsed significantly more stringent weight loss goals for obese female patients than obese male patients. Regardless of patient gender, physician goals exceeded the 5-10% losses currently recommended. Additional research is needed to better understand this gender discrepancy in physician expectations for obese patients. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Dutton GR; Perri MG; Stine CC; Goble M; Van Vessem N
  • Start Page

  • 186
  • End Page

  • 188
  • Volume

  • 50
  • Issue

  • 4