Race-Concordance Not Related to Best Obesity Care

Obese black patients less likely to receive weight-loss and exercise counseling than whites

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Obese black patients receive less exercise counseling and may receive less weight-reduction counseling than their white counterparts, regardless of patient-physician race concordance, according to research published online Jan. 13 in Obesity.

Sara N. Bleich, Ph.D., of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Md., and colleagues investigated the impact of doctor-patient race concordance on weight-related counseling. Using data from the 2005 to 2007 National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys, researchers examined weight reduction, diet/nutrition, and exercise counseling received by 2,231 black and white obese individuals from their black and white physicians.

The researchers found that there was no positive association between patient-physician race concordance and weight-related counseling. Black patients received less weight-related counseling than did white patients, regardless of the race of the physician. White doctors were less likely to counsel black obese patients than white obese patients about exercise (odds ratio [OR], 0.54). Black doctors were less likely to counsel black patients than white patients about weight reduction (OR, 0.34).

"Despite prior research suggesting greater use of needed medical services among race-concordant pairs, we did not find support for our hypothesis that race concordance would be positively associated with obesity care," the authors write.

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