A patient-centered decision rule for referral of patients to weight-loss programs

James E. Rohrer, Stephen P. Merry, Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, Steven C. Adamson, Laurie Wilshusen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The obesity epidemic threatens to shorten life expectancy and reduce the quality of life for large segments of the population. The purpose of this study was to develop a decision rule for referral to a weight-loss program on the basis of the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and self-rated overall health. METHODS: We employed a patient satisfaction survey of family medicine patients treated in Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, linked with medical record information, to test the theory that, in primary care patients, BMI exhibits an inverse and independent relationship with overall self-rated health after adjusting for age, gender, marital status, and cigarette smoking. Interviews were linked to medical records for 679 adult patients. RESULTS: Adjusting for age and other confounders using multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that overweight (BMI = 25-30 kg/m) was not a risk factor for poor self-rated health and only BMI above 35 kg/m was significantly related to poor overall health (adjusted odds ratio = 0.33, confidence interval = 0.17-0.64, P = .0012). CONCLUSIONS: Quality improvement programs should monitor whether obesity is being addressed in clinical settings. A patient-centered decision rule for addressing obesity could involve referral of patients whose BMI is above 35 kg/m to weight management programs, monitoring of patients whose BMI scores are between 30 and 35 kg/m, and encouragement of patients whose BMI is above 25 kg/m to avoid weight gain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-255
Number of pages6
JournalQuality management in health care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Body mass index
  • Family medicine
  • Health confidence
  • Obesity
  • Self-rated health
  • Weight control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Care Planning


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