Looking to lose weight? Talk to your doc

By Carrie Johnson Weimar • Published: June 28th, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Actions speak louder than words, right? Well, when it comes to weight loss, simply having an honest conversation with a physician might be the first step to losing unhealthy pounds.

Two recent studies underscore this point. One study found that patients who were told by a doctor that they are overweight or obese are more likely to see themselves that way and take steps to lose weight. In the second, patients who received counseling were more likely to remain at their existing weight and not put on additional pounds.

In the first study, researchers determined obese patients were six times more likely to agree with their doctor’s assessment after having a frank coversation with their physicians.

In addition, overweight patients were eight times more likely to express a desire to lose weight than patients whose doctors did not talk to them. Obese patients were five times more likely to say they wanted to lose weight, too. Both groups were twice as likely to have attempted to shed pounds after the conversation with the doctor.

In the second study, about five-hundred overweight or obese patients from the Netherlands were selected to receive counseling from either a nurse practitioner or their doctor. Sixty percent of the participants in each group remained at a steady weight for a follow-up period of three years.

As the number of overweight Americans climbs to two-thirds of the population, clearly it’s time for an intervention. But many doctors say they’re still reluctant to bring up this delicate issue for fear of alienating patients. But with the number of patients suffering from type 2 diabetes and high-blood pressure continuing to soar, health experts say it’s time for everyone to put aside their fears and have an honest conversation about the perils of excess weight.