The prevalence of obesity is growing worldwide. Obesity guidelines recommend increasing the level of weight-related care for persons with elevated levels of weight-related health risk (WRHR). However, there seems to be a discrepancy between need for and use of weight-related care. The primary aim of this study is to examine predisposing factors that may influence readiness to lose weight and intention to use weight-related care in an overweight population.
A population-based, cross-sectional survey was conducted. Data were collected using an online self-administered questionnaire sent to a population-representative sample of 1,500 Dutch adults on the Health Care Consumer Panel (n = 861 responded). Data were used from individuals (n = 445) with a mildly, moderately or severely elevated level of WRHR. WRHR status was based on self-reported data on Body Mass Index, risk assessment for diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM2) and cardiovascular disease (CVD), or co-morbidities.
55.1% of persons with increased WRHR were ready to lose weight (n = 245). Depending on level of WRHR; educational level, marital status, individuals with an accurate perception of their weight and better perceptions and expectations of dietitians were significantly related to readiness to lose weight. Most of them preferred individual weight-loss methods (82.0% of n = 245). 11% (n = 26 of n = 245) intended to use weight-related care. Weight-related care seeking was higher for those with moderate or severe WRHR. Expectations and trust in dietitians did not seem to influence care seeking.
Many Dutch adults who are medically in need of weight-related care are ready to lose weight. Most intend to lose weight individually, and only a few intend to use weight-related care. Therefore, obesity prevention initiatives should focus on monitoring weight change and weight-loss plans, and timely referral to obesity management. However, many people are not ready to lose weight. For this group, strategies for behaviour change may depend on WRHR, perceptions of weight and dietitians, educational level and marital status. Obesity prevention initiatives should focus on increasing the awareness of the seriousness of their condition and offering individually appropriate weight management programmes.