ACEP: Disconnect in Patient's Health, Weight Perceptions

Gender and race impact perceptions of health and weight in emergency department patients

MONDAY, Oct. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Emergency department patients show a disconnect in their perceptions of health and weight, with gender and race affecting these perceptions, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of American College of Emergency Physicians, held from Oct. 15 to 18 in San Francisco.

Matthew Ryan, M.D., from the University of Florida in Gainesville, and colleagues analyzed patients' perceptions regarding obesity as a disease, and patient-provider communication in 357 adults (aged 18 years and older) who presented to an emergency department between August 2010 and April 2011. The participants were asked whether they believed that their weight was damaging to their health, and whether they had been informed by any health care professional that they are overweight. Positive and negative replies to these questions were assessed based on patient body mass index, race/ethnicity, gender and the number of comorbid conditions.

The investigators found that, although 37 percent of the patients felt that their weight was unhealthy, only 27 percent remembered being informed about it by a health care professional. A total of 37 percent of Caucasians and 40 percent of African-Americans reported their weight to be unhealthy, of whom 27 and 33 percent, respectively, recalled being informed by health care professionals. Of those who felt their weight was unhealthy, only 19 percent discussed it with their health care provider. Though men and women reported their weight as unhealthy 30 and 42 percent of times, respectively, they discussed weight with a provider only 17 and 34 percent of times, respectively.

"Gender and cultural differences exist regarding weight and furthermore, point toward a disconnect regarding patients perceptions of health and weight," the authors write.

Abstract No. 138
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