Manly Men Get More Advice

Men that have male physicians find it easier to talk about weight management

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Weight is often a touchy subject to discuss. When and under what circumstances is it okay for someone to talk about it? Would it be better if it was a doctor or physician?

It is often hard for people to tell someone they love or care about that their weight may be a problem. Doctors and physicians are people too; they may have more authority, but they can feel awkward to talk about weight management.

Researchers wanted to examine the relationships of obese patients and patient-physician gender concordance.

"Try to feel comfortable discussing weight with your doctor, it's their job"

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and John Hopkins University performed a study on obese individuals and their physician to determine if gender concordance played a role in weight-related counseling.

The study showed obese men were more likely to receive weight-related counseling and exercise tips if they saw a male physician when compared to obese women and female physicians. The fact that society depicts men to be masculine and well fit may lead male physicians to offer advice to male patients. 

Obese man had 60 percent higher chance of receiving diet/nutrition advice and 76 percent higher chance of getting exercise counseling from male physician.

There was no significant difference found between female patients and female physicians and female patient and male physician. This could be because women tend to be more dissatisfied with their weight.

As a female physician, they may try to avoid weight related conversations with obese patients and male physicians may try to avoid weight related conversation with female patients.

Weight counseling from physicians has been associated with modest weight loss, which leads to a healthier life, so if in doubt, speak with a physician and break the awkward barrier.

The Study

  • University of Pennsylvania and John Hopskins University performed study
  • Used data from National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey 2005-2007
  • 5,667 obese patients analyzed
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 6, 2011
Last Updated:
May 10, 2011