Overweight Doctors Less Likely to Mention Weight Problems to Patients

It has been already stated that doctors have a difficult time talking with their patients about their weight. They feel uncomfortable telling their patients that they need to lose weight. However, it seems that the weight of the doctor is very important as well when it comes to this discussion.

Overweight Doctors Have Troubles Bringing the Weight Subject

A new study has revealed the fact that doctors who are overweight have a more difficult time when it comes to talking to their patients about weight-related issues. The overweight physicians do not discus as often with their patients about their body mass index, as the slimmer physicians do. Only 18 percent of the overweight physicians mention this subject, whereas 30 percent of the thin ones do. Because of this, they have difficulties when it comes to mention diet as well. 37 percent of the overweight doctors mention it, whereas 53 percent of the thin doctors do it. Also, only 38 percent talk about exercise, versus 56 percent.

The survey was conducted on the internet on 498 family doctors, general practitioners, and internists last year. Around 66 percent of the participants were male, and around 75 percent of them were over the age of 40. 53 percent of the ones who participated to the study were overweight or obese. The results are very important given the fact that more than two thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. Their medical expenses add up to $147 billion.

In case the doctors are afraid to mention something about their patient’s weight, the problems could add up, and they might develop more serious problems. Sara Bleich, an assistant professor of health policy at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and lead author of the study, stated that 93 percent of the physicians, who have a regular weight, are able of identifying an overweight or obese person who has a bigger weight than they do. Only 7 percent of the overweight or obese doctors are able to do it.

They cannot identify an Overweight Patient Either

Bleich says that the doctors have a tough time identifying a patient with weight issues, unless that patient has an equal or bigger weight. The reason for that is perception; the doctors use their body as a standard.  They might not consider themselves with weight problems, and as a result, they do not say anything. The reason why so many overweight doctors ignore the subject is because they feel that the patient will not listen to them, since they are overweight as well.

It seems that the overweight or obese doctors are more confident when it comes to prescribing weight loss drugs, because they probably know that it can be difficult to lose weight. It is a known fact that the doctors advise their patients based on their personal characteristics. For example, the ones who have a healthy life are more willing to suggest this lifestyle to their patients. Doctors, who smoke, are less likely to help people quit smoking, maybe because they know how difficult it is to quit.

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