The attitudes towards obesity may have an important role on healthier behavior. The goal of the present study was to explore the attitudes towards obesity and to investigate how these attitudes were associated with lifestyle-changing behavior among the patients attending primary care centers, health care professionals and public health experts.
This cross-sectional survey study was performed in 10 primary care offices in different regions in Lithuania and in 2 public health institutions. Nine hundred thirty-four patients, 97 nurses, 65 physicians and 30 public health experts have filled the questionnaire about attitudes towards obesity and presented data about lifestyle-changing activities during last 12 months. The attitudes were compared between different respondent groups and factors associated with healthier behaviors were analyzed among overweight/obese individuals in our study population.
Participants failed to visually recognize correct figure corresponding to male and female with obesity. Majority of respondents’ perceived obesity as a risk factor for heart diseases and diabetes but had less knowledge about other diseases associated with weight. About one third of respondents changed their lifestyle during last 12 months. Overweight individuals with age < 45 years (OR 1.64, 1.06-2.55; p = 0.025) were more likely and those who overestimated current weight (OR 0.44, 0.20-0.96; p = 0.036) less likely to change their lifestyle. Disappointment with their current weight (OR 2.57, 1.36-4.84; p = 0.003) was associated with healthier behavior among participants with obesity.
Participants had similar body size perception and knowledge about obesity. Younger age had significant association with lifestyle changing behavior among overweight individuals and disappointment with current weight among obese participants.