Physician Advice on Exercise and Diet in a US Sample of Obese Mexican-American Adults

Roughly half of obese Mexican-Americans may not receive advice to exercise more and eat healthier; in general, those who are advised to exercise are more likely to do so.

More than one-third of Mexican-Americans are obese. Previous studies have been inconclusive concerning of factors influencing advice given by physicians to obese Mexican-Americans.

This study analyzed a survey that asked obese Mexican-Americans if they had ever received advice from their physicians to exercise more and eat fewer high fat/high cholesterol foods. The authors examined five years of data; their analysis focused on sociodemographic characteristics that predicted whether obese Mexican-American patients received weight-related advice.

Key Findings:

  • Younger, single men were less likely to receive weight-related advice; further risk factors were low education level, speaking Spanish at home and lacking insurance.
  • Physicians provided advice more frequently to patients who had either diabetes or hypertension.

By neglecting to advise obese Mexican-American patients who have no comorbid conditions, physicians may be obstructing disease prevention. This study found no association between provider characteristics and the likelihood of weight-related advice. This was one of the first large-scale studies of weight-related advice given to obese Mexican-Americans.