A survey of outpatient weight loss programs utilized by larger Los Angeles County hospitals

A telephone questionnaire was administered to the thirty-one hospitals in Los Angeles County containing over three hundred beds. The questionnaire was designed to measure various characteristics of the outpatient weight loss programs offered, including a determination of whether or not dietitians were involved in conducting programs and whether or not data was collected that may be utilized in reporting information to the literature. There were 23 programs found (in 21 hospitals) and 10 hospitals that did not have currently operating weight loss programs. There were 7 (30.5%) Optifast type programs and 16 (69.5%) moderate calorie restricted (MCR) programs. There were only 4 (17.4%) programs that actively incorporated all of the following: nutrition education, behavior modification, psycho-social support and exercise. The majority of programs [13 (57%)] utilized the first three components and advised participants to exercise on their own. Dietitians were included in all but 2 (8.7%) of the programs, and although 16 (69.6%) of respondents did collect data only 2 (8.7%) of these had definite plans for publication. For the population studied, the data suggested that There were potential professional employment opportunities available to dietitians in the 10 hospitals not currently operating weight loss programs. Also, most programs would benefit from the inclusion of exercise as a part of group sessions and MCR programs would benefit from wider advertisement.