Even though providers often find it difficult to speak with their patients about their weight, a new study shows that a physician recommendation is effective in achieving weight loss results. The study, published in the Journal ofEconomics & Human Biology, showed that patients who were recommended to lose weight by their physician lost more weight on average compared to patients of doctors who didn’t provide this recommendation.
Sometimes the best advice is advice that is hard to hear. The weight loss discussion can be uncomfortable for both the physician and the patient. As a result, this necessary conversation is often avoided during a doctor’s appointment. However, this study shows that, while awkward, the recommendation can lead to promising results.
The study’s author, Joshua Berning, offers advice of his own, “Physicians often don’t take the time to consult patients about being overweight. They need to take the opportunity to interact with their patients. Through an open dialogue, patients can find solutions to their health issues, especially in terms of obesity.”
With health related matters, physicians are in the perfect position make recommendations and suggestions on ways for their patient to lead a healthier lifestyle, including weight loss. When receiving advice, often the importance we place on the information depends on the source of the actual advice. This study clearly shows that physicians can influence patients to take action on their weight loss advice.