Saturday, October 2, 2010

MORE- A Novel "Diet"

On this last day of the 2010 AAFP Scientific Assembly, I will be speaking about nutrition. As family physicians, we are all motivated to help our patients achieve the best health they can, and often the major issues stem from being overweight. We know excess weight leads to high blood pressure, elevated sugars and diabetes, and high cholesterol levels, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. So why don't more family doctors talk to their patients about their weight?

Of course, there are many reasons, but here are a few:
1. The doctor doesn't want to insult or upset the patient by telling them they are overweight, especially if the doctor herself is overweight.
2. Weight loss counseling can be very time consuming, and we are already time pressured without opening this can of worms.
3. Many doctors lack knowledge or training regarding current nutrition, and are unsure of which "diet" to recommend.
4. Often patients want weight loss drugs, and most doctors are unsure of the risks and aware of the high percentage of relapse once the medication is stopped.

My goal today will be to teach primary care physicians some simple tools that they can use to help motivate their patients to lose weight. They will learn about BMI, 24 hour dietary recalls and exercise prescriptions, and learn about my MORE philosophy! We all know that MORE fruits and veggies will push us towards better health, but having a concrete plan for More fruits/veggies, Optimizing Snacks, Ramping up Fiber and Exercising daily will be a terrific start! In fact, our surgeon general, Dr. Regina Benjamin, emphasized that we need to stop focusing on what we CANNOT have/eat, and start focusing on what we can and should be eating, which is exactly the MORE message I have been sending the past few years

BOTTOM LINE: Focus on MORE fruits and veggies, MORE exercise, MORE fiber and stop the culture of restrictive dieting!

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