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How Your Doctor's Weight May Influence How He Treats Your Obesity
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How Your Doctor\'s Weight May Influence How He Treats Your Obesity

Most people who are overweight know that they are that, but may not know that they are obese. They are probably convinced that they will go to their doctor and get the correct diagnosis as well as advice about their health, diet and exercise tips so that they can make the needed improvements. But, according to a new study published in the journal, Obesity, how much your doctor himself weighs may influence how likely he is to bring up obesity in the first place as well as how much stock he puts into the advice that he is giving his patients.

In the study, researchers reached out to nearly five hundred general practice and internal specialty doctors to fill out a survey that discussed a number of weight and care related questions. More than half of the doctors that responded to the survey labeled themselves as overweight. Questions included on the survey discussed care standards, whether the doctor approached the patient about his or her weight and how weight was handled when it was determined to be a problem.

Almost all of the doctors were found to be open to discuss weight if the patient was obese but slightly less so when the patient was merely overweight. But, when the doctor was overweight himself, he was less likely to offer suggestions about diet and exercise to the overweight and obese patients. A normal weight doctor discussed those topics nearly thirty percent of the time versus under twenty percent for the doctors who had higher BMIs.

In addition, the doctors were also more likely to discuss weight and weight loss efforts if the patient's weight was higher than their own. Those doctors were also less likely to be confident in the patient's interest or ability to follow their advice. Overweight doctors also felt that they had no ability to give such advice to their patients with nearly forty percent saying they were not competent to give advice or direction on diet and exercise. In contrast, more than half of the normal weight doctors felt that they were perfectly able to give this advice.

As with smoking and other bad behaviors, patients may look to the doctor who is most likely to either condone or overlook what they are doing. Doctors who are overweight may be reluctant to try to speak to a patient about their weight because they feel that they have problems of their own to deal with.


Street Talk

Interesting take on this. I guess I never thought about it this way, but it makes sense.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Hm. That's curious. Looking for doctors with problems so they won't help you! Great thing to pull to attention - thanks.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
Barbara9  

interesting article

Reply
  about 8 years ago

We have a cardiologist in my small town who is not only obese; I'd say morbidly obese. Over 300 lbs. How can you talk to patients about heart health and be over 300 lbs? How can patients follow his advice if he, himself, doesn't take the steps necessary to practice what he preaches? I think the doctors weight, does, indeed, dictate how he or she will talk to their patients about weight and other poor lifestyle choices. Thanks for the great read.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

I wrote an article which scared the bejeebers out of me- about how many doctors are alcoholic and possibly even drinking on the job. I had a doctor who was caring for one of my clients and literally berating the woman for her bad habits. But, I could smell the cigarette smoke on him from across the room- how do you bash a patient for something that you do yourself? It really does make me wonder what the heck they are thinking- they see the affects of these choices on the human body and yet, they still make the same mistakes. Doctors are human, but they are also supposed to be a little smarter so that they can guide the patient.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
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