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Care of Obese Persons

By April 13, 2010Commentary

The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study relating to the care of obese persons.  (JAMA Article) Overweight patients are viewed negatively by many physicians and these patients perceive that they are viewed and treated negatively.  Because of this, there has been concern about the adequacy of their care.  Prior research has come to mixed conclusions on that score.  In the current study, the authors examined a population of Medicare beneficiaries and VA patients for how they fared in regard to eight process of care quality measures.

The researchers reported that across all these process of care measures overweight patients were no less likely than normal weight ones to be treated in accordance with recommendations and in many cases were actually more likely to receive the appropriate care.  This may partly be due to obese patients having more physician visits.  In addition, obese men and women and obese whites and non-whites were equally likely to receive recommended care.   Overall, despite the negative perceptions of overweight patients, there appears to be little concern that they are receiving poorer care; on the contrary, as might be appropriate given the association between obesity and a number of illnesses, they often appear to get better care.

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