Doctors underestimate patients’ motivation to lose weight

Doctors underestimate patients’ motivation to lose weight

Doctors do not seem to be doing a good job when dealing with overweight or obese patients.
After some studies highlighting the doctor’s lack of time and really practical solutions to help those with weight problems related to health problems, today a new study identifies another problem at the basis of the doctor-patient relationship.

That is, doctors tend to underestimate or ignore the patient’s efforts to lose weight, and that when the patient says he has already tried to lose weight without success, they do not believe him.


According to a survey conducted in 11 countries on 2,500 doctors and more than 14,000 obese or severely overweight patients, an alarming figure emerges . 81% of patients said they told their doctor that they have already tried to lose weight without success, but doctors say they only believed a third of their patients.
More than half of patients complain that it took years (an average of six years) for their doctors to understand that they weren’t motivated to lose weight, and that they weren’t right.
These are the two most frequent accusations by doctors.
According to the head of research, Dr. Ian Caterson, professor at the Boden Institute at the University of Sydney, if doctors were more empathetic and attentive they could successfully lose weight in their patients in much less time, by listening to their difficulties and meeting them. rather than snubbing them.


Worse, 66 percent of patients involved in the research say they have unsuccessfully asked their doctor for help in losing weight. And on the contrary, most doctors say they are convinced that the patient does not want to lose weight out of laziness.

We are facing a big communication problem, which then leads people with weight problems to rely on the most disparate strategies. For example by becoming customers of various paid diet programs run by unprofessional people.

There is this commonplace that also plagues doctors, who think that those with weight problems are lazy and unmotivated.

Instead, the motivation to lose weight is there, but professional help is lacking, the researchers explain.
It is no coincidence that obese people go to the gym or search the internet for other ways to lose weight: the problem is upstream. These people do not feel understood and listened to by their doctors.

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