Seeing Clearly

Ob-Gyn: What Obesity?

A study just presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology suggests that Ob-Gyn physicians have no problem with obesity. They just don’t see it.

Abbe Kordik, Marci Adams, and Beth Plunkett examined the electronic medical records of a health system that cares for more than 3.5 million patients in four hospitals and 81 outpatient centers in Evanston, IL. Specifically, they analyzed the records of approximately 63,176 patients of reproductive age to determine the rate of diagnosis and referral for a nutrition consult among patients with excess weight and obesity.

Among patients with excess weight, 4.7% were diagnosed and 1% received a nutrition referral. For those with class 1-2 obesity (BMI 30-40), 20% were diagnosed and 3% were referred. For those with class 3 (severe) obesity (BMI ≥ 40) 48% were diagnosed and 12% got a nutrition referral.

Consistent with the epidemiology of obesity, they found significantly higher obesity rates in Hispanic and African American women. Hispanic women with obesity were significantly less likely than others to be diagnosed, while African American women with obesity were significantly more likely to be diagnosed.

These data bring life to an observation offered by Lee Kaplan of the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center. “Obesity is a chronic disease that hides in plain sight.”

Click here for the abstract of this study.

Seeing Clearly. photograph © Kenny Louie / Wikimedia

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2 Responses to “Ob-Gyn: What Obesity?”

  1. May 06, 2014 at 7:00 am, Mary-Jo said:

    I remember a time, not too long ago (up until early 1980s) when cardiologists didn’t think obesity was important or anything they could do anything about. That worked out well….not!

  2. May 06, 2014 at 8:17 am, Ted said:

    Your are so right, Mary-Jo.