Blog | Monday, December 3, 2012

QD: News Every Day--Four in 10 internists have trouble talking about obesity with patients

About 40% of internists find it difficult to talk to their patients about obesity and weight management, an ACP Internist poll reported.

In response to the question, "How easy or difficult is it for you to discuss the topic of obesity or weight management with your patients?" 33% found it very easy and 28% found it somewhat easy.

These doctors could share some tips with others, since 14% found it neither easy nor difficult, another 14% found it somewhat difficult and 11% found it very difficult. Time is a barrier, one voter added.

Coincidently, 40% of patients may not even be counseled about obesity, said Kimberly Gudzune, MD, assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and an internist at the Johns Hopkins Digestive Weight Loss Center in Maryland.

The main culprits cited in ACP Internists's article on the subject are a fear of a patient's negative reaction to the news, a lack of training about the issue in medical school, and the previously mentioned lack of time among general practitioners.

Experts cited a few ways to address the issue:
--Giving patients a few quick tips to avoid sugary beverages, moderate portion size and drink water;
--Send patients to commercial weight loss programs; and
--"Prescribe" fresh fruits and vegetables.