Doctors Ignore Obesity


So, how come “many overweight patients are not being advised to lose weight, diet, or exercise”.

In fact, when it comes to medical intervention in cases of obesity, the numbers are as follows:

  1. Having a doctor tell the patient about the health problems associated with being overweight (48.0%),
  2. Suggesting diet and exercise (46.5%),
  3. Referring the patient to a formal diet program (5.2%),
  4. Prescribing a weight loss medication (4.0%),
  5. Recommending a non-prescription weight loss product (1.8%),
  6. Recommending stomach bypass surgery (1.5%).

I don’t know about you, but considering that obesity is fast becoming the western world’s #1 health issue, I think that the global medical community should be taking obesity prevention/treatment much more seriously.

I don’t know if it’s a lack of knowledge or the threat of discrimination lawsuits or the frustration of being ignored by obese patients over and over and over, but if we want to reverse the tide of obesity related disease, real steps need to be taken.

The time for talk is over.


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  1. Thank you for pointing this out. I saw a sign in a doctor’s office window recently that stated “obesity is a medical issue that needs treatment.” I was impressed with the clarity of this statement and I hope that more doctors will follow with similar actions.

  2. You’re right. The time for talk is over.

    The problem with our culture and society today is that it is like bucking the tide to change the way we approach eating and caring for our bodies. Secular education does little at best to educate children about how to eat properly, how our bodies metabolize the food we eat, the basic concept of calories in-calories out…which leaves it to the parents to instill in their children all the while they (the parents) are consumed by their 40 hour a week dead-end job stress (or worse yet: job loss), paying the mortgage, and all else that home/family management involves including all manor of economic stresses which drives them to care less about making the right choices about food because it’s the least of their worries…go the easy road and get out the hamburger helper or mac & cheese, because they’re too tired to care anymore, let alone teach the kids how it works -do they even know themselves?

    It should be entirely the other way around. Our worries should START with our human bodies and proper care & maintenance of them. Our bodies are our only certainty in this life, without them we cannot wake or live or do or feel or enjoy…

    Big business & big pharmacy has completely brainwashed our entire society with their advertising campaigns. “I’m lovin’ it!” Really? Are you really lovin’ it people? When’s the last time you hiked through a beautiful alpine meadow and breathed the crisp mountain air, gazing at a snow capped peaks, munching on sweet wild blueberries and catching a glimpse of some amazing wild creature?

    All I’m saying is, it takes a complete restructuring of our mental programming. Each person has their own choice to make. When did it become the doctor’s, or some guy in political office, or some advertiser’s decision what we should/shouldn’t put in our bodies? Our earth is the answer. What does it grow in it’s purest form? Eat that and you will be pure. Quit abusing your body by consuming all this garbage! Take ownership of the precious gift you’ve been given!!

    It’s hard too when our bodies are so different. My brother’s metabolism is SO fast he has to eat at least 4,000 calories a day to maintain his 6′ 185 pound body. If I eat more than 16-1800 I will gain a pound of fat in 3 days. But that is my lot in life. It’s who I am and I accept that. I wish someone could’ve explained to me the math, it’s not hard to learn your BMR and how to handle it, it’s not rocket science, it’s basic math! It’s not been easy to change and I spent all my 20’s in denial and depression (and 80 pounds overweight). A victim of this society and culture I was born into.
    Don’t be a victim. We can fight it. We need education and lots of tender loving care and we can win it…

  3. I thought most people already knew the adverse health effects of overweight and obesity, as well as the social and economic drawbacks. You don’t need a medical degree for that.

    It’s like smoking. Who, these days, needs a doctor to tell them it’s bad for their health, that it causes emphysema and lung cancer?

    I’ve spoken to thousands of patients about losing excess weight, whether they asked for it or not. Far too often, it’s like casting seeds on barren ground.

    Sometimes obesity reminds me of alcoholism: people have to hit “rock bottom” before they’re going to change. Rock bottom is different for everyone. In obesity, rock bottom may be a new diagnosis of diabetes or cancer, intractable knee arthritis, having to pay for two airline seats instead of one, etc.

    At the bottom, it’s more painful to continue the old ways than it is to change.

    You see it in the fitness business, DR. 90% of clients sign up, all fired-up, and then fade away after 2-3 months, never to be seen again. The other 10% really buckle down and get fit, overhaul their lifestyles, and stay fit for good.

    Why one and not the other?

    [I’m sure your client numbers are 90% success, 10% fade-away!]


  4. The darndest thing about being overweight is that it seems so hard to lose weight.(Notice I said seems). I some times think that if it were as easy as exercising 3 hours a day and staying on boiled vegetables it would be so easy! Yes I meant that. But I definately don’t want to deal with the side effects of doing that. Weight loss is complicated and most importantly it requires patience, tenacity and discipline. That is why I think most people fail. We are so used to living on auto-pilot and under stress that anything that requires us to plan, think and be patient is a lost cause!

  5. It’s partly the protocol of a doctor’s office visit. Patient comes in with a complaint. Doctor has allowed 5-10 minutes to see patient & resolve complaint. Unless the patient is coming in for a physical, I don’t think a talk about the patient’s weight would be even welcomed, unless it was the original complaint. Diet & exercise recommendations would take more than 5-10 minutes. I can’t even imagine the horrible reaction to a doctor taking the time to point out that besides the original complaint, the patient is obese. Obesity can’t be cured in a short visit with a prescription. And, if the patient is then sent to a nutritionist, the patient will be prescribed a semi-starvation version of the S.A.D. With the addictive nature of our foods today, very few people can remain on the semi starvation version of the SAD. The patient would also be advised to “get some exercise”. The last thing on earth an obese person would want to do is go to a gym filled with fit people & then try to workout. It’s fashionable to stare at, make fun of, & put down obese persons due to our judgement of them as “weak-willed gluttons”. Would you subject yourself to a semi starvation diet & put yourself on display at a gym? And, of course, let’s not forget that for many of these obese people, this will not be their first attempt at weight loss. It will also not be their first failure.
    There are many things that must change for the obese to successfully lose weight and maintain that loss. There is nothing here in America that is in place to help them on that journey.

  6. Marie,

    A lot of the “systems” that we have set up to make our world run more efficiently have (at least indirectly) led to our current problem with obesity.

    And when it comes to doctors, considering the lack of training/understanding they have about obesity, they would be the last people I would go to for advice. Diagnostic tests – yes , advice – no.

    But, amongst our peers there is an endless supply of real-world experience and potential emotional & physical support.

    That is why I started the Facebook group – so we could share our experiences and offer advice/support, set up meetup groups ala weight watchers or hire trainers to lead small group fitness classes in our neighborhoods, etc…

    If we wait for “them” to set up some sort of official obesity program(that actually works), we will be waiting a long time.

    Better to organize ourselves on a smaller scale – much more flexible and much more immediate.

    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents

  7. oh my.. several things are wrong with this post (and the comments).
    by now everybody interested in nutrition, fitness and weight management should know that 1.) exercise is pretty much the least efficient thing you can do to lose weight. 2.) if you want to lose weight (easily), “dieting” and restricting calories is certainly not the way to go (long term). changing your diet from high-carb/high-sugar/low-fat to high-protein/high-fat/low-carb tho, is. unfortunately, most MD still live in the “ancel keys” world, where saturated fat and cholesterol is bad, and tons of carbs, “healthy whole grains” and cereals are good! think the eff again. on the youtube channel of the stanford university is a presentation called “who is winning at losing” or something which compares the different diet approaches. the most effective and most *healthy* way to lose weight long term ist low-carb a la atkins and/or paleo/primal (=low(er) carb). no caloric restriction or dieting needed. also, exercising/weight trraining in moderation is healthy of course for several reasons, but certainly not an effective means for weight loss!

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