Patient-health care professional gender or race/ethnicity concordance and its association with weight-related advice in the United States

Hsing-Yu Yang, Hsin-Jen Chen, Jill A Marsteller, Lan Liang, Leiyu Shi, Youfa Wang
Patient Education and Counseling 2016, 99 (2): 271-8

OBJECTIVE: Examine association between adult patients' and health care providers' (HCPs) gender or race/ethnicity concordance and patients' reported receiving weight-related advice from HCP's in USA.

METHODS: Using Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) 2004-2007 data, studied prevalence of weight-related advice (on exercise and diet) given to patients and its association with patients/HCPs concordance in gender (n=9,686) and race/ethnicity (n=8,825).

RESULTS: Overall, 46% of patients received HCP advice on diet and 49% on exercise. Overweight females seeing female HCPs were more likely to receive exercise advice than those seeing male HCPs (OR=1.44 [95% CI: 1.10-1.89]). Race/ethnicity concordance was associated with lower odds of advice-receiving in certain populations (OR=0.80 [0.67-0.97] for exercise and OR=0.42 [0.19-0.91] for diet among white patients, OR=0.47 [0.23-0.98] for exercise among Hispanic overweight patients).

CONCLUSIONS: Patient/HCP gender or race/ethnicity concordance was not positively associated with HCPs providing weight-related advice. Patients with female HCPs or with racial/ethnic discordant HCPs (especially black or Asian HCPs) were more likely to receive advice.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Health care providers need be empowered, particularly white and male HCPs, to improve delivery of weight-related advice. It may reflect better of receiving weight-related advice based on patients' recall.

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