Doctors are Important in Decision to Lose Weight

Today HealthDay published an article summarizing two studies that show that physicians play a big role in a patient’s perception of their weight, and their decision to try to lose weight. Both studies were published in the February 28th edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
A key statistic the article sites is that patients who are told by a physician that they are overweight, are 8 times more likely to perceive themselves as overweight. The term ‘overweight’ is specifically defined as having a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 25 – 29.9. A BMI of over 30 is considered ‘obese’ according to the National Institute of Health.
weight loss decision
The article points out the significant benefit of physicians’ discussions of weight with patients:
“There are big jumps in people recognizing their weight and wanting to lose,” said Post.

But also shows big room for improvement in the number of doctors who are having these conversations:

“The bad news was that fewer than half of people with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more (25 is the low end of overweight) said their physician had talked to them about their weight.
Why do doctors seem so reluctant to do so, especially since obesity is linked to such health problems as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers?
In addition to well-known time constraints, ‘there may be some issues with not wanting to offend people,’ Post said. ‘It’s not the most comfortable topic,’ Simmons agreed. He does think more doctors are talking to their patients about their weight, however — something he believes will eventually slow the tide of obesity.”

You can read Healthday’s article here.

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