Open Access Open Badges Research article

Obese older adults report high satisfaction and positive experiences with care

Frank G Bottone1*, Shirley Musich1, Shaohung S Wang1, Cynthia E Hommer2, Charlotte S Yeh3 and Kevin Hawkins1

Author Affiliations

1 Advanced Analytics, Optum, 315 E. Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 305, Ann Arbor, MI 48108, USA

2 Current address: MCG – Formerly Milliman Care Guidelines, 901 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2000, Seattle, WA 98164, USA

3 AARP Services, Inc., 601 E St NW, Washington, DC 20049, USA

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BMC Health Services Research 2014, 14:220  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-220

Published: 16 May 2014



Obese, older adults often have multiple chronic conditions resulting in multiple health care encounters. However, their satisfaction and experiences with care are not well understood. The objective of this study was to examine the independent impact of obesity on patient satisfaction and experiences with care in adults 65 years of age and older with Medigap insurance.


Surveys were mailed to 53,286 randomly chosen adults with an AARP® Medicare Supplement Insurance Plan insured by UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company (for New York residents, UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company of New York) in 10 states. Following adjustment for non-response bias, multivariate regression modeling was used to adjust for demographic, socioeconomic and health status differences to estimate the independent impact of weight on satisfaction and experiences with care. Outcome variables included four global and four composite measures of satisfaction and experiences with care.


21.4% of the respondents were obese. Relative to normal weight, obesity was significantly associated with higher patient satisfaction and better experiences with care in seven of the eight ratings measured.


Obese individuals were more satisfied and had better experiences with care. Obese individuals had more office visits and discussions about nutrition, exercise and medical checks. This may have led to increased attentiveness to care, explaining the increase in satisfaction and better experiences with care. Given the high level of satisfaction and experiences with care in older, obese adults, opportunities exist for clinicians to address weight concerns in this population.

Obesity; Satisfaction; Attentiveness to care; Medicare