Few adults with functional limitations advised to exercise more or lose weight in NHANES 2011-14 seek health professional assistance: An opportunity for physical therapists

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: Functional limitations are associated with decreased physical activity and increased body mass index. The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of functional limitations among adults who reported receiving health professional advice to exercise more or lose weight, and to assess involvement of health professionals, including physical therapists, in weight loss efforts with these individuals. Design: A cross-sectional analysis of U.S. adults from the 2011 to 2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (n = 5,480). Methods: Participant demographics, health history, and functional limitations were assessed via self-report and examination. Frequency distributions were calculated using SAS® analytical software, accounting for the complex survey design. Population estimates were calculated using the American Community Survey. Results: 31.0% of individuals (n = 1,696), representing a population estimate of 35 million adults, advised to exercise more or lose weight by a health professional reported one or more functional limitation. Of the 31%, 57.6% attempted weight loss, and 40.1% used exercise for weight loss. Few sought health professional assistance. Physical therapists were not mentioned. Conclusions: Few individuals with functional limitations advised to lose weight or increase exercise seek health professional assistance for weight loss. Physical therapists have an opportunity to assist those with functional limitations with exercise prescription.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
StateAccepted/In press - Mar 3 2018



  • Functional Limitation
  • physical therapy
  • weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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