Blog | Friday, March 9, 2012

QD: News Every Day--Start talking to patients about obesity, because treatments work


Physicians generally don't talk to their patients about obesity, and it's difficult to blame them:
--They were never trained to address it;
--They might get sued; and
--They are only now being reimbursed by Medicare for counseling.

The experience of Canadians mirrors that of American physicians, reports a new study in the March issue of Chronic Diseases and Injuries in Canada.

Of more than 2,000 respondents in the study, 33% were overweight and 20% obese. In the year prior to the survey, nearly half (48%) of overweight and obese respondents initiated a conversation about weight loss. But only 30% reported that their physician began such a conversation.

The practice falls outside Canada's practice guidelines. Contrary to the recommendations of that document, only 14% of overweight and 18% of obese respondents reported having their waist circumference measured, 82% of overweight and 87% of obese respondents reported having their blood pressure measured, and 36% of overweight and 50% of obese respondents reported being tested for diabetes.

Despite the lack, it's clear that interventions work when tried, according to a review published in Annals of Internal Medicine in October 2011. Overweight adults in behavioral treatment trials that provided 12 to 26 intervention sessions during the first year lost 9 to 15 pounds compared to control groups, which lost little or no weight. Adults who received orlistat plus intensive behavioral interventions lost 11 to 22 pounds compared to those receiving placebo, who lost 7 to 13 pounds.