Talking with you doctor about your weight

The red flag doctors aren’t talking about

Your primary care doctor knows your weight is an important health issue. But whether he actually talks to you about it–or gives you any practical advice for managing it–appears to be another matter entirely…

According to a recent study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine many doctors don’t discuss a patient’s weight problem with them.

Unbelievable, but true.

This national survey of 1,211 primary care providers found that fewer than half are consistently talking to their patients about diet, exercise, and weight management.

Only 49 percent reported that they regularly recorded the patient’s BMI. Body mass index, or BMI, is basically a quick way to crunch the numbers–your height and weight–to see if you’re obese or not. It’s not the be-all, end-all that many sources make it out to be, but it is a start. So it’s unsettling that so many doctors don’t even take the time to do that much. I have an app on my phone so I can assess all of my patients in under ten seconds. It’s free, so you should have one on your smart phone, too.

Fewer than 50 percent of the doctors in this survey gave patients any specific guidance on diet, physical activity, or weight control. Probably because they are either overweight themselves or just don’t know anything about nutrition. In fact, less than a quarter of the doctors tracked their patients’ weight loss (or weight gain).

This is just plain unacceptable.

Sure, time is short during an office visit. But if your doctor isn’t discussing your weight with you–and referring you to specialists who can help you get your diet under control–you’re not seeing the right doctor.

Find someone who takes an interest in your health. It’s your right to have good health care!