The weight of the primary care physicians might influence obesity care and diagnosis performed by them. This piece of information came out from a survey conducted across the US in which 500 primary care physicians took part. The findings were published in the journal Obesity, earlier this month. It said that it is more likely for the doctors whose BMI lies in the range of normal weight discuss obesity related issues and weight loss issues with their patients that their colleagues who are overweight or obese.
Dr Sara Bleich, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is the lead author of the study. She told the press that the conclusions drawn from the study also pointed towards the fact that the doctors who have normal weight “have greater confidence in their ability to provide diet and exercise counselling and perceive their weight loss advice as trustworthy when compared to overweight or obese physicians.” The ratio of a person’s weight in kilograms to the square of his height is called as Body Mass Index, BMI.
The researchers categorized the doctors who had their BMI greater than 25kg/m2 as obese or overweight and those below it as normal weight. Dr. Bleich along with her colleagues considered the impact of the BMI of the doctors on the obesity care. They also assessed the confidence of the doctors in their ability to advise on issues related to diet and exercise and the patients trust in the weight loss advice given to him. This data was collected in the form of questionnaires that the doctors had to fill themselves. The researchers found that the normal weight doctors were more confident, they were more likely to discuss weight loss and they were more likely to believe that they could be role models to their patients.
The researchers thus concluded that “These results suggest that more normal weight physicians provided recommended obesity care to their patients and felt confident doing so.” However, the researchers believe that further research is necessary in order to understand the impact of the BMI of doctors on the obesity care completely. Dr. Bleich said, “Perhaps we could help doctors increase their confidence in providing care for their obese patients, regardless of their own BMI, by helping them improve their own health and increasing the quality of the obesity-related training they receive.”