There was an interesting story on National Public Radio this morning titled, “Why Doctors And Patients Talk Around Our Growing Waistlines.”

The story discusses the lack of communication between doctors and patients about losing weight. One of the contributing factors to this problem, as highlighted in the story, is that until recently, doctors weren’t reimbursed for weight counseling, only for treating conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure that result from being overweight.

An interesting excerpt:

Many patients say their doctors don’t spend enough time, if any, talking with them about losing weight. But doctors often complain that when they do bring up the issue, nothing changes.

Lisa Flowers says weight is something she wishes her doctor would address more directly. At 47, Flowers stands 5 foot 7 and weighs nearly 300 pounds. She wasn’t always obese. But after she had a baby five years ago and moved from Washington, D.C., to Delaware, she says her workout and eating habits got off track.

Flowers says she’s brought up her weight with her doctor, but the topic is “kind of avoided, almost as if he’s uncomfortable.”

“It’s sort of a beating around the bush kind of thing,” she says.

Her doctor, on the other hand, insists that he and Flowers have discussed her weight and strategies to help her shed pounds. But that’s not clear in Flowers’ medical chart.

What is clear, says Yale University psychologist Rebecca Puhl, is that this kind of disconnect between doctors and patients is all too common. Puhl says just one-third of doctors surveyed say they talk with patients about losing weight. That means two-thirds don’t.

At Marathon Health, our clinicians are trained to confront weight loss head-on and to be a friend and mentor to participants and inspire them as they figure out the best way to shed extra pounds. Our coaching model is focused on behavioral change utilizing Motivational Interview techniques, rapid-cycle action plans, and recognition of the participants’ “readiness to change.” We’ve had a lot of success with our programs, which you can see by clicking here for patient testimonial videos.

The rest of the NPR story is available here.


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