Monday, January 30, 2012

Obese Doctors Less Likely To Help You Lose Weight

If you need help losing weight, you may want to see a skinny doctor.

An overweight or obese doctor is a lot less likely to discuss weight loss with patients (only 18% do, compared to 30% of docs who are of a normal weight), according to this TIME Healthland story that cited a new study from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Now, I understand the thought behind this, but I really just can't see doctors avoiding the subject just because they themselves need to work on something. That is kind of like saying that a dentist wouldn't suggest teeth whitening because they don't have perfect teeth. Right?

This does remind me of something that I always thought about as a kid. I had a nurse at my primary care doctor who was fairly overweight, and used to go on smoke breaks every five minutes in front of the building. Even as a young kid, I knew that she was unhealthy. The sad thing is, the fact that she smoked made it a little more enticing for me - like, if the nurse smokes who always makes me feel better, maybe it isn't that bad. Luckilly, I never got into smoking. I like being able to take deep breaths :).

Do you think that weight REALLY has anything to do with how much a doctor will help you?

Have you ever had an overweight primary care physician? Do you know any medical professionals who smoke?

And a fun story out today: A fake, talking vending machine was put in an elementary school in Utah to teach kids about making healthy choices. “I’m a vending machine and can’t move without someone’s help,” a cartoon-like voice says when a student chooses a Lava Cake. “Keep buying food like this and we’ll have that in common.” ... from the Salt Lake Tribune article.


  1. I must admit, I'm surprised by these findings as doctors don't tend to struggle much with hyprocrisy on the weight issue, which is why they may well be targeted by this kind of opinion in the end.

    "That is kind of like saying that a dentist wouldn't suggest teeth whitening because they don't have perfect teeth. Right?"

    Not at all. If a doctor is fat then they are walking evidence that what they are recommending either hasn't made them slim.

    Teeth whitening can be shown to be effective; at whitening teeth.

    1. That should read "either hasn't made them slim or that dieting is not for them." IOW, their weight is a sign that they know better than they are pretending. Less likely to be the case with slim doctors who can speak confidently from their own ignorance.

    2. You have a lot of valid points. I guess if a doctor is not able to control his or her own weight, he or she may feel less confident offering advice and therefore not do it at all. Thanks for your comments!