Use of obesity-related care by psychiatric patients

Laurel Anne Copeland, Mary Jo Pugh, Paul B. Hicks, Polly Hitchcock Noel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: The objective of this study was to assess receipt of obesity care by patients with and without mental illness. Methods: The sample consisted of 254,051 obese primary care patients surviving through fiscal year (FY) 2006. Administrative data for Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patients who were obese in FY 2002 (body mass index ≥30) and received primary care in one of six selected VHA regions were included. Outcomes were receipt of obesity care and weight loss during FY 2002-FY 2006. Covariates included baseline mental illness (major depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and substance use disorders; ICD-9-CM codes 290-311); psychotropic medications associated with weight gain; comorbidity; and demographic characteristics. Results: Most patients were male (95%), non-Hispanic white (80%), older than 50 (mean±SD=61±12) with comorbid hypertension (65%) and dyslipidemia (50%). One-fifth (20%) had mental illness, primarily depression (8%) or posttraumatic stress disorder (6%). Ten percent of the sample lost weight, and 7% gained ≥10% from baseline weight). Although one-third (34%) received obesity care during the study period, receipt of this care was more common among patients with psychiatric diagnoses (46% versus 31%). In multivariable analysis, psychiatric patients prescribed obesogenic psychotropic medications were more likely than other patients to receive obesity care (interaction effect). Conclusions: VHA efforts to help obese patients manage their weight appeared more common for patients prescribed obesogenic psychotropic medication, especially those with psychiatric diagnoses. The results of this study represent an unusual example in which psychiatric patients were relatively more likely to receive care addressing cardiometabolic risk factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-236
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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