Helping obese patients to lose weight not so easy for overweight counselors

Posted on September 9, 2014

A report on the findings, published online in the journal Obesity, suggests that patients may be more receptive to those who "practice what they preach."

"Our research shows that the personal weight of health professionals matters when assessing their perceived level of success in helping obese patients to lose weight," says study leader Sara Bleich, PhD, an associate professor with the Bloomberg School's Department of Health Policy and Management. "Health professionals who maintain a healthy weight feel more empowered to help their obese patients achieve their weight loss goals and reported being more successful at helping obese patients lose weight."

The researchers surveyed 500 non-physician health professionals specializing in nutrition, nursing, behavior/mental health, exercise and pharmacy between January 20 and February 5, 2014. Professionals of all weights, the survey found, were equally confident in their ability to relay proper weight-loss advice and felt that patients were equally receptive to it. But 52 percent of those counselors of normal weight reported success in helping obese patients achieve clinically significant weight loss as compared to 29 percent of overweight counselors.

The study also found that most health professionals, regardless of their weight, do not feel successful in helping patients with weight loss until they are morbidly obese, which suggests missed opportunities for early intervention. Obesity affects one-third of the U.S. adult population and is estimated to cost $147 billion annually, with only about one-third of patients receiving a diagnosis and one-fifth receiving weight-related counseling.

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Category(s):Self-Confidence, Self-Esteem

Source material from Medical News Today

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