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Should Doctors Point Out Obesity?

Did you know that an estimated 66 percent of U.S. adults are overweight or obese? However according to a new report, only 12 percent of U.S. adults say they have ever been told by a doctor, nurse, or other health care professional that they are obese. So either a lot of people are not seeing the doctor as they should, or the doctors are not calling their patients out on being obese.

This is a sensitive subject, I know, but I am wondering what you guys think -- Should a doctor be responsible for letting his patient know if she is obese as well as the risks associated with obesity?

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meganekko meganekko 8 years
it is a doctor's responsibility as a HEALTH care professional to point out such things, prevention, and suggestions to combat such conditions.
melda melda 8 years
Yes of course!
melda melda 8 years
Yes of course!
zc zc 8 years
i absolutely think doctors should point it out. obesity is linked to so many health risks and as a doctor they have the duty of letting obese patients know about the health risks they are incurring. there is always the noce way to say it but it must be said. my gp always let me know when i was at a healthy weight.
Koffie Koffie 8 years
I think that doctors should absolutely point out this to their patients. Furthermore, I think that if a doctor DOESN'T point this out, then they are not doing their job well. It should be done in the most kind manner and patients should be offered assistance and guidance to help this matter be eradicated from thier lives.
Koffie Koffie 8 years
I think that doctors should absolutely point out this to their patients. Furthermore, I think that if a doctor DOESN'T point this out, then they are not doing their job well. It should be done in the most kind manner and patients should be offered assistance and guidance to help this matter be eradicated from thier lives.
catesugar catesugar 8 years
Although the issue is no doubt littered with issues such as self-esteem and self-worth, doctors shouldn't treat patients on an ailment-by-ailment basis. Obesity, as with other problems is inter-related to many other problems, such as bloodpressure, macular degeration, osteoperosis. If an obese patient carrying a lot of weight around their middle walks in complaining of sore feet, that patient should be tested for Type II diabetes. The state of being obese isn't a problem - some lucky people may suffer little or no consequence. The problem is that obesity can be a cause of severe health problems or can be a symptom of such problems.
JessBear JessBear 8 years
If anyone should do it, it should be a doctor. I don't like all the flack that overweight people get in today's society, but a doctor shouldn't just be loking at you and going, "Oh, you're fat". They should know your history and your health, so they should be in a position to help judge your fitness level. However, I do agree with the people that pointed out that a fifteen minute office visit doesn't leave a lot of time to discuss things. If a doctor thinks it's a problem, then they need to set aside an extra ten minutes to discuss it tactfully and to find out how the patient feels, and what, if anything, he/she is doing to correct it. Just like someone else said: if you had another problem, cancer, or, heck, even a bladder infection, the doctor wouldn't just mention it and walk away, they'd give you some extra time to tell you how to fix it. I'm about 10-15 pounds overweight, 5'6" and 160-170. I've never had a doctor tell me I'm fat or need to lose weight, but my gyno always asks me how often I excersize, and then stresses the inportance of getting aerobic activity in. I think that's a good way to do it- she never tells me I need to drop a few, just that I need to exercize more to reach my optimum healthy-ness.
JessBear JessBear 8 years
If anyone should do it, it should be a doctor. I don't like all the flack that overweight people get in today's society, but a doctor shouldn't just be loking at you and going, "Oh, you're fat". They should know your history and your health, so they should be in a position to help judge your fitness level. However, I do agree with the people that pointed out that a fifteen minute office visit doesn't leave a lot of time to discuss things. If a doctor thinks it's a problem, then they need to set aside an extra ten minutes to discuss it tactfully and to find out how the patient feels, and what, if anything, he/she is doing to correct it. Just like someone else said: if you had another problem, cancer, or, heck, even a bladder infection, the doctor wouldn't just mention it and walk away, they'd give you some extra time to tell you how to fix it. I'm about 10-15 pounds overweight, 5'6" and 160-170. I've never had a doctor tell me I'm fat or need to lose weight, but my gyno always asks me how often I excersize, and then stresses the inportance of getting aerobic activity in. I think that's a good way to do it- she never tells me I need to drop a few, just that I need to exercize more to reach my optimum healthy-ness.
Julie2812 Julie2812 8 years
Absolutely.
Julie2812 Julie2812 8 years
Absolutely.
calamityjen calamityjen 8 years
LOL @ crazy minky! I'm going to have to use that line....
calamityjen calamityjen 8 years
I think that if a doctor, who is supposed to be concerned with your well-being, doesn't gently remind you of the health risks of being obese, he or she isn't providing the best patient care possible. I'm not obese or anything, but I could stand to lose about 40 pounds...my doc has never said anything to me about my weight, even though I've been seeing him for 5 years, and he's seen my weight slowly trend up. I almost wish he would say something; I know that seems weird, but it might light a fire under my rear and motivate me a little more, you know? It's like he either doesn't want to say anything for fear of offending me, or just doesn't really care. I like it when a doc can be straightforward and tell me how it is...that's when I feel I'm getting the best care!
calamityjen calamityjen 8 years
I think that if a doctor, who is supposed to be concerned with your well-being, doesn't gently remind you of the health risks of being obese, he or she isn't providing the best patient care possible. I'm not obese or anything, but I could stand to lose about 40 pounds...my doc has never said anything to me about my weight, even though I've been seeing him for 5 years, and he's seen my weight slowly trend up. I almost wish he would say something; I know that seems weird, but it might light a fire under my rear and motivate me a little more, you know? It's like he either doesn't want to say anything for fear of offending me, or just doesn't really care. I like it when a doc can be straightforward and tell me how it is...that's when I feel I'm getting the best care!
crazy-minky crazy-minky 8 years
"You're really obese" "Oh is that what that is? I thought my couch got smaller"
crazy-minky crazy-minky 8 years
"You're really obese""Oh is that what that is? I thought my couch got smaller"
crazy-minky crazy-minky 8 years
If you need a doctor to tell you that you're obese, then maybe you are better off just dying of it. Seriously. Its not like its a silent and invisible disease.
crazy-minky crazy-minky 8 years
If you need a doctor to tell you that you're obese, then maybe you are better off just dying of it. Seriously.Its not like its a silent and invisible disease.
shortashley shortashley 8 years
Controlledspin, I totally agree with you! If people are overweight, they know it, they don't need to be told it. I have a few extra pounds myself, that's why I'm on here, to get some help with losing it. I go to cosmetology school and I am constantly surrounded by these skinny, underweight, girls that don't even eat half of the time. By being around them I am constanly reminded that I need to loose that extra weight (I'm smarter than those girls though, I know better than to starve myself). I acknowledge that some people are in denial, I've known some of those people, and they do need some help. However, for those of us that know we have extra pounds (whether it is a few or a lot) we don't want to be reminded by everyone we know because most people in this situation are either 1) working to change their situation or 2) naturally built bigger and simply have to watch their diet (my sister is this way), but those with issues and denial need to be confronted head on in order to help them deal with thier problem. It is a very delicate situation that must be handled carefully. I say that if the doctor has an established history with the patient then they know their behavior and attitude and can handle the situation in the manner that they feel is the most appropriate.
Swangeese Swangeese 8 years
No. If my doctor starts harassing me about my weight, then I'll find another one. I've been overweight and I certainly didn't need the doctor to tell me the obvious. However at the time I wasn't ready to lose the weight. A person has to be ready in order to make the decision to lose weight. If shame worked, then there would be no overweight people. Furthermore it is possible to be fat and fit. As long as a person is moving and is eating a nutritious diet, then size shouldn't matter. There are many things that affect weight like hormones, medications, bacteria in the gut, medical conditions, your body's set point, psychological issues, etc. aside from the calories in/calories out formula. A study I read even said that it is healthier to maintain a certain weight rather than to lose/gain weight.And BMI charts are lousy at determing obesity. I'm thin and yet I'm still considered "overweight". Yet in the 80s, before the U.S. government revised the BMI chart, I was a "healthy" weight. It's madness to pin health to a number. And yet it's done everyday.Let's face it, a lot of stuff out there has more to do with fatphobia and selling diet products than actual health. There is a blog (not mine) dedicated to the issue called Junkfood Science.
Swangeese Swangeese 8 years
No. If my doctor starts harassing me about my weight, then I'll find another one. I've been overweight and I certainly didn't need the doctor to tell me the obvious. However at the time I wasn't ready to lose the weight. A person has to be ready in order to make the decision to lose weight. If shame worked, then there would be no overweight people. Furthermore it is possible to be fat and fit. As long as a person is moving and is eating a nutritious diet, then size shouldn't matter. There are many things that affect weight like hormones, medications, bacteria in the gut, medical conditions, your body's set point, psychological issues, etc. aside from the calories in/calories out formula. A study I read even said that it is healthier to maintain a certain weight rather than to lose/gain weight. And BMI charts are lousy at determing obesity. I'm thin and yet I'm still considered "overweight". Yet in the 80s, before the U.S. government revised the BMI chart, I was a "healthy" weight. It's madness to pin health to a number. And yet it's done everyday. Let's face it, a lot of stuff out there has more to do with fatphobia and selling diet products than actual health. There is a blog (not mine) dedicated to the issue called Junkfood Science.
trendyindc trendyindc 8 years
It's not so much that they don't notice it or are worried about hurting the patient's feelings, but most doctors and RNs are not reimbursed for discussing obesity. Insurance companies usually don't recognize this as a disease and under most prevention isn't covered. While this may seem like the health care professionals are being greedy, its really a problem. If you have a 15 minute appointment and that's all you talk about with your doctor, then they can't be paid for that session. If you multiply that by the number of obese patients they probably see, it would certainly be a large amount of money. Health care professionals have such high costs with operating their practices that it is understandable, but not excusable.
ethiopian_princess ethiopian_princess 8 years
P.S.: To those who disagree, obesity has everything to do with your health and wellbeing. It leaves people more vulnerable to everything from depression to diabetes. If you look at the definition, it IS a medical condition. It's not just some outside factor. There are services for upper-middle class and wealthy people that involves getting a doctor who is very invested in your care. You get a two hour physical in which essentially anything that can be wrong with you is found. When a doctor spends enough time with you, they are more likely to diagnose a problem correctly. They do an ECG even, keep you up on immunizations (boosters and what not), evaluate your mental health and pretty much do everything I think doctors should do if money wasn't such a major issue. Those doctors will ALWAYS point out a weight problem and not just that, if you're fat-skinny (5'8", 130 lbs with 35% body fat), they will also tell you. There is such a huge stigma tied to sparing people's feelings. While I think it's important to love your body no matter what, it's even more important to ensure that the body is healthy and running smoothly for the long haul. They tell smokers to quit. Sadly, the only time doctors are guaranteed to confront a weight issue is when you have developed another disease as a result of the obesity. Bedside manner matters too. A doctor just can't say "you're a cow. lose weight." I also think the same goes for smokers. They are people too and telling them they are disgusting only makes their bond to other smokers stronger. For some reason, it's totally acceptable to berate a smoker even when they aren't smoking, but if I went to McDonald's and told the many overweight and obese people there to have a salad (no cheese, no dressing, no croutons) instead of a #1 super sized, I would be looked at like some sort of monster.
ethiopian_princess ethiopian_princess 8 years
P.S.: To those who disagree, obesity has everything to do with your health and wellbeing. It leaves people more vulnerable to everything from depression to diabetes. If you look at the definition, it IS a medical condition. It's not just some outside factor. There are services for upper-middle class and wealthy people that involves getting a doctor who is very invested in your care. You get a two hour physical in which essentially anything that can be wrong with you is found. When a doctor spends enough time with you, they are more likely to diagnose a problem correctly. They do an ECG even, keep you up on immunizations (boosters and what not), evaluate your mental health and pretty much do everything I think doctors should do if money wasn't such a major issue. Those doctors will ALWAYS point out a weight problem and not just that, if you're fat-skinny (5'8", 130 lbs with 35% body fat), they will also tell you. There is such a huge stigma tied to sparing people's feelings. While I think it's important to love your body no matter what, it's even more important to ensure that the body is healthy and running smoothly for the long haul. They tell smokers to quit. Sadly, the only time doctors are guaranteed to confront a weight issue is when you have developed another disease as a result of the obesity. Bedside manner matters too. A doctor just can't say "you're a cow. lose weight." I also think the same goes for smokers. They are people too and telling them they are disgusting only makes their bond to other smokers stronger. For some reason, it's totally acceptable to berate a smoker even when they aren't smoking, but if I went to McDonald's and told the many overweight and obese people there to have a salad (no cheese, no dressing, no croutons) instead of a #1 super sized, I would be looked at like some sort of monster.
ethiopian_princess ethiopian_princess 8 years
Yes, just like they point out being underweight, having heart disease, cancer or depression. I know there's a sensitivity issue with children definitely, but if your child is obese, you know it and your doctor would be neglectful if they didn't mention it and advise you on changing the family's lifestyle. If a doctor isn't pointing out obesity, they aren't doing their jobs. I would be very wary of what else they aren't telling you.
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