Normal Weight Doctors Discuss Weight Loss With Patients More Often Than Overweight Colleagues

A national cross-sectional survey of 500 primary care physicians in the US finds their weight may influence obesity diagnosis and care. Among the findings, published earlier this month in the journal Obesity, is the suggestion that doctors whose BMI is in the normal weight range are more likely to to discuss weight loss with patients than overweight or obese colleagues. Lead author, Dr Sara Bleich, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told the press their findings also suggest that normal weight physicians "have greater confidence in their ability to provide diet and exercise counseling and perceive their weight loss advice as trustworthy when compared to overweight or obese physicians". For their survey, Bleich and colleagues assessed the impact of physician BMI on obesity care, their confidence in their ability to give advice on diet and exercise, perceptions of role modeling and perceptions of patient trust in weight loss advice. All the data came from questionnaires that the doctors completed themselves. BMI, or body mass index, is the ratio of a person's weight in kilos to their square of their height in metres. They classed doctors who reported themselves as having a BMI of 25 kg/m2 or over as overweight or obese, and under that to be of normal weight. When they analyzed the results, the researchers found that: Physicians who reported having normal BMI were more likely to discuss weight loss with their obese patients than physicians who reported having BMI in the overweight or obese range (30% versus 18%, P=0.010).   Physicians with normal BMI had more confidence in their...
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