The First Step is Your Doctor Admitting That You Have a Problem

When fighting obesity, doctors are dropping the ball

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

(RxWiki News) Doctors who tell their patients that they are obese have a significant impact on the patients’ ability to first, realize that they are overweight, and second, to take action and lose weight.

This information comes from a study conducted by Dr. Robert E. Post while he was at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston (Dr. Post is currently in New Jersey).

Dr. Post and his colleagues pored over the results of the 2005-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and discovered that when doctors confronted their patients and told them that they were overweight, the patients were eight times more likely than patients who were not confronted to sit up and realize that they were indeed overweight. However when a patient was obese, inexplicably they were only six times more likely to make the connection.

The overweight patients were eight times more likely to affirmatively state that they wanted to lose weight, and more than twice as likely to have tried to shed pounds if their physician had talked to them about the issue. The obese patients were not as enthusiastic and were just five times more likely to want to lose weight.

The study also found that unfortunately the doctors are dropping the ball in the fight against the obesity epidemic-- fewer than half of the patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more (25 is the low end of overweight) reported that their doctor brought up the weight issue.

Obesity has definitively been linked to health complications including stroke, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, all of which burden America with billions of dollars in avoidable health care costs.

Also, obesity costs billions of dollars in lost productivity to businesses each year, which negatively impacts America's ability to compete in the global market.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
March 2, 2011
Last Updated:
March 4, 2011