Heavier doctors less likely to diagnose obesity, study says


Doctors who are overweight or obese are far less likely to diagnose obesity than doctors in the normal weight range, according to a study published in the journal Obesity.

Physicians with a normal body mass index (BMI) — between 18.5 and 25 — were more likely to engage their patients in weight-loss conversations (30 percent versus 18 percent). 

The study also found that more normal weight physicians had the "confidence" to give advice on diet (53 percent versus 37 percent) and exercise (56 percent versus 38 percent), according to MedPage Today.

In addition, researchers found that obese doctors were more likely to prescribe — and to report success with prescribing — obesity medications to patients.

According to LA Times, however, one of the most "stunning figures" in the paper was that "the probability that a normal-weight doctor actually recording an obesity diagnosis for an obese patient was 93 percent. For overweight or obese doctors, it was just 7 percent."

"Our findings indicate that physicians with normal BMI more frequently reported discussing weight loss with patients than overweight or obese physicians," study researcher Sara Bleich, Ph.D., of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, said in a statement.

"Physicians with normal BMI also have greater confidence in their ability to provide diet and exercise counseling and perceive their weight loss advice as trustworthy when compared to overweight or obese physicians."

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