Is your doctor overweight? The answer may make a difference to your own weight issues. A new nationwide survey of 498 physicians finds that doctors who are overweight or obese are less likely to engage their patients about the need for weight loss and feel less confident in their ability to provide counseling on diet and exercise. The 49-item questionnaire asked physicians about their own body-mass index (BMI), as well as their dealings with patients weight management. Normal-BMI doctors were more likely to say that physicians should serve as role models by maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly. And doctors perceptions of whether patients weight met or exceeded their own made a big difference in whether the doctor recorded a diagnosis of obesity or initiated a conversation about weight loss.
TO LEARN MORE: Obesity, online first; abstract at dx.doi.org/10.1038/oby.2011.402.