Thursday, May 20, 2010

Weighty Issues

The American Academy of Family Physicians is ramping up our patient awareness of individual responsibility and health choices. As family doctors, we certainly are well-positioned to take the lead on community education, as well as prioritizing preventative care with our patients. Has your doctor addressed your weight issues? Do you wish (kind of) that she would?

You may wonder why more doctors do NOT address their patients being overweight. Well, let me share a few (misguided) reasons. Primarily, doctors want to help their patients, but do not want to be perceived as rude or judgmental. Additionally, many doctors are overweight themselves, so it's a bit easier to turn a blind eye towards this particular issue. Physicians fear if they bring up this subject, they may be in for an extended visit that will put them running behind the rest of the day. Additionally, insurance companies do not want to reimburse us for nutrition counseling, and with our overhead expenses, we have to mindful of the bottom financial line. Finally, many physicians feel at a loss for what they can offer their patients.

I hope any doctors not actively addressing overweight & obesity issues will read the latest issue of AAFP NEWS NOW and see how I and many other FPs are tackling these obstacles. Feel free to forward this link to your doctor and open up the lines of communication for your health!
BOTTOM LINE: Ask your doctor about ALL your health concerns, including those 10, 20, 50 or more pounds you want to lose!

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