Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Should Doctors Lecture Patients About Their Weight?

“On his blog, Dr. Rob muses about a variety of topics like llamas, twinkies and favorite patients. But I was particularly moved by a recent post, which was written after Dr. Rob’s encounter with an overweight patient who was clearly accustomed to being lectured about obesity. As Dr. Rob was about to discuss whether the man needed surgery for sciatica and back pain, the patient interrupted him, hanging his head in shame and blaming his weight for the problem. Dr. Rob says obese patients don’t need lectures. ‘Instead of patronizing obese patients with a lecture, I try sympathizing with them. Just because something is simple doesn’t make it easy. How do you quit smoking? You just stop smoking. We should just pull out of Iraq. There should be peace in the Middle East. People should stop hurting each other and start being nice. All of these are good ideas, but the devil is in the details. Losing weight is a struggle, and it really helps to have people giving you a hand rather than knocking you down.’ Dr. Rob writes that he still tries to help patients to lose weight, but he is concerned that a ‘culture of accusation and shame’ is making matters worse for them.”

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