Objective: To assess weight loss strategies and behaviors in obese patients prior to seeking professional obesity treatment in Taiwan. Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted between 1 July 2004 and 30 June 2005. Setting and subjects: Obese subjects (1060; 791 females; age, ≥18 years; median BMI, 29.5 kg/m2) seeking treatment in 18 Taiwan clinics specializing in obesity treatment were enrolled and completed a self-administered questionnaire. Results: Of the 1060 subjects, the prevalence of anti-obesity drug use was 50.8%; more females than males used anti-obesity drugs (53.6% vs. 42.4%). Approximately one-third of normal weight or overweight subjects with no concomitant obesity-related risk factors took anti-obesity drugs. Merely 26.7% of female and 34.7% of male subjects regularly received panel-recommended levels of physical activity. Further, two-thirds (66.1%) of subjects expressed an intention to lose more than 20% of initial body weight. Multiple logistic regression analyses revealed a substantially higher odds ratio (OR) for anti-obesity drug use in females than in males (OR, 2.3, 95% CI: 1.7-3.2). Obesity was also associated with younger age and higher body mass index (BMI). Females were more likely than males to have unrealistic weight loss goals. Younger patients and those with high BMI were also more likely to have unrealistic weight goals than their reference groups. Conclusion: Obese patients in Taiwan tend to use anti-obesity drugs, receive inadequate physical activity and have unrealistic weight loss expectations before seeking professional treatment for obesity.
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