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Community Health Data Base
An Information Service of the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation

Encouraging the Obese to Lose Weight
Wednesday. December 17, 2003

PHILADELPHIA, PA, December 2003 — Earlier this month, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released a study indicating that doctors should screen for obesity and advise their obese patients to lose weight. Locally, the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation (PHMC), a nonprofit public health agency, found that only about half of obese adults in the region were advised to lose weight.

Among adult respondents to the most recent Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey conducted by PHMC, 54.2% of obese adults reported that they were advised by their doctor or health care provider to lose weight.  The survey showed that approximately one in five adults (22.6%) in the region are obese based on BMI calculations using height and weight. This represents more than 640,000 people 18 years of age and older.  More than 10,000 households participated in the survey, which was conducted by telephone in the summer of 2002 in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties. The next survey will be conducted in 2004.

PHMC is a United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania member agency. Additional Survey findings are located on-line at PHMC’s Community Health Data Base also collects information about childhood obesity and other health issues. For more information about the national task force’s findings on obesity, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website at