The obesity rate hasn’t slowed,
but it isn’t because of lack of trying. The dieter surely wants to lose weight
and lead a healthier lifestyle and their provider surely wants to help them, so
where do we go wrong? Both sides can point the finger at the other, but a
recent study shows there’s enough responsibility to go around.
Medscape surveyed more than 1,400
medical professionals comprised of family medicine physicians, endocrinologist,
internal medicine physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and OB/GYNs.
These providers on average see almost 200 patients a month who are either obese
or overweight that also have comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes or
The good news is that these
providers are taking action to help with their patients’ weight issues, with
the main courses of action being prescribing weight loss drugs to manage their
patients’ weight, diet modification, exercise, behavioral therapy, and in
extreme cases, bariatric surgery. However, these methods are not producing
positive results, but why? The answer you get depends on who you ask.
“Clinicians are trying to help
their patients manage [their] weight, but they are frustrated because their
patients are struggling with lifestyle change,” says Dr. Donna H Ryan,
professor emerita, Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research
The survey showed that only 40
percent of the providers used behavioral therapy as a method of weight loss,
paling in comparison of diet modification and exercise implementation (85 and
80 percent respectively). The issue with this is if you don’t deal with a
person’s behaviors, how can you expect things they don’t normally do such as
diet modification or exercise implementation to resonate with them to the point
it truly becomes a part of their life? Without that intrinsic change in one’s
behavior and habits we are more so looking at short-term goals as opposed to
Then you have the issue of
unattainable expectations. Many times when we look at weight loss we take a
“gulp, not sip” approach. We envision ourselves with brand new bodies and
pounds melting off of us, when in reality that isn’t a realistic goal, and maybe
it shouldn’t be. You would be surprised how much a difference just a ten pound
weight loss would make, in appearance and health.
So where do we go from here? Well,
there are things that both sides can do to make things better. From the
provider side of things, “It takes an educated clinician to be effective,” says
Dr. Ryan. Providers need to equip themselves with the proper education and
tools needed to not only engage change in their patient, but produce results
that stick with us. Coaching skills are a key component to helping their
patients gain those behavioral developments needed to not just lose weight, but
to have a better and healthier lifestyle.
As for the dieter, expectations could
be tempered. The journey maybe long, but it starts with the first
step, and there are destinations along the way. A healthier lifestyle
doesn’t come just when you hit that target weight; it comes when you have
created habits and routines that make for a better you for the long-term.
Blog written by Marcus Miller/Robard Corporation