Physician Overweight/Obesity Impacts Obesity Care

(HealthDay News) – Being overweight/obese has a significant impact on a physician’s provision of obesity care, according to a study published online Jan. 19 in Obesity.

Sara N. Bleich, Ph.D., of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and associates conducted a national cross-sectional survey of 500 primary care physicians to determine whether physician body mass index (BMI) impacts obesity care, self-efficacy, and perceptions of patient trust in their advice.

The researchers found that physicians with normal BMI were significantly more likely to discuss weight loss (30 versus 18%) and to give diet (53 versus 37%) and exercise advice (56 versus 38%) than overweight/obese physicians. Significantly more physicians with a normal BMI believed that patients would be less inclined to trust weight-loss advice from overweight/obese doctors (80 versus 69%). Physicians with normal BMI were also significantly more inclined to believe that physicians should maintain a healthy weight (72 versus 56%) and exercise regularly (73 versus 57% than overweight/obese physicians. When physicians’ perceptions of patients’ body weight met or exceeded their own body weight, they were significantly more likely to record an obesity diagnosis (93 versus 7%) or initiate a weight-loss conversation (89 versus 11%).

“This study suggests physician BMI impacts obesity care,” the authors write. “Normal BMI physicians are more likely to provide obesity care to their patients and feel confident doing so.”

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