By Ashley Mooney
Sometimes talking about weight loss can be difficult, especially with a doctor who is just as chubby as you.
A recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Medical Institutions found that physicians with higher body mass indexes are less likely to address weight issues in patients.
The researchers surveyed 500 doctors and found that 30 percent of normal-weight doctors were likely to engage patients in discussions of weight loss and exercise, while only 18 percent of overweight or obese doctors did the same.
The study also showed that when physicians perceived that a patient’s body weight met or exceeded their own body weight, 93 percent of physicians would diagnose them with weight issues and likely to recommend obesity care.
Despite findings that overweight doctors are less likely to engage patients in such discussions, some noted that patients might identify better with those who have similar BMI’s.
“I believe that the reaction to one’s weight is highly individual,” said Dr. Robert Califf, Vice Chancellor for Clinical Research and Donald F. Fortin, M.D. Professor of Cardiology at Duke. “Some docs seem to feel better about discussing it if they are overweight because they identify with the patient.”
Califf also noted that his own exercise and health experiences only partially help him in dealing with his patients.