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Has Your Doctor Ever Told You That You Are Overweight And Need To Lose Weight?

May 19th, 2009 · 4 Comments ·


According to a survey, about 66 percent of U.S adults are overweight or obese? However, only 12 percent of U.S. adults say they have ever been told by a doctor, nurse, or other health care professional about the weight issue. You may be wondering why these people were not told by doctors then. But, wait, should a doctor be responsible to inform his patient is overweight?

We have two camps of people here:

Those Who Against The Idea Of Doctor Telling Patients About Overweight Issue:

  • This is a sensitive subject, especially for people who have low self-esteem. So, it is better to let someone who is very close to them to say those words, rather than doctor. Worse, some are embarrassed and do not want to hear about it.
  • A lecture or “helpful reminder” may not work. Just like people who smoke, some overweight people already knew about that they are overweight. They are reminded of it when they go shopping for clothes or when they look at mirror or when they look at models in magazine. Some even know the health implications. So, if they choose to ignore it, it is nothing else a doctor can do.


Those Who Think That Doctor Should Point Out Obesity:

  • Doctors should point out anything that affects the health of their patients. Most patients will take note of what doctors have said, compared with advices from family members, friends or even personal trainers. After all, doctor is someone who we look up to.
  • If a doctor can inform someone who is underweight, he should do the same for people who are overweight too.

What Mun Thinks:

  • The doctor should look at the big picture and determining what the patient’s lifestyle before telling the patients that they are fat.
  • A doctor should know the fine line between “informing”, “advising” and “judgmental lecturing”. Doctor should be tactful in how he deliver the message, but that does not mean he should beat around the bush. I do not expect the doctor will say sentence like this, “You are obese and your going to die,” and then walk away. Give advice what to do. Offer help. Provide emotional support.
  • Doctor should make it a medical issue, not a beauty or appearance issue. By doing this, patients will find it easy to accept and listen. Also, a doctor who is in good shape tend to gain trust easily in this weight issue. I doubt that you will listen to a 300-pound doctor to tel you, “Hey, you are overweight. You better watch your diet and do more exercise.”


What do you think, should a doctor be responsible in informing his patient about overweight?



Category: Health

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4 responses so far ↓
  • Janice Boyer // May 19, 2009 at 8:45 AM

    I am a health care professional and overweight. I think a Doctor should mention to his patient the consequences of being over weight and ask the patient if it’s something they want to work on and come up with a treatment plan that the patient is part of.

    Sometimes the encouragement and understanding, not critisim, of a person’s excess weight, from their physcian is the motivation a person needs to get on a weight loss program. And like others have said, we try to please our doctors because we do look up to them. If the doctor is critical and condesending, then that’ll just make the patient stay away and not seek treatment for other medical issues which will put their health at a even higher risk. I agree that someone is probably not going to listen to an overweight doctor.

  • alfonto // May 19, 2009 at 8:55 AM

    i agree with you mun.

    doctor should be tactful about informing his/her patient that he/she is overweight and should also making it more on medical consequences of being overweight. The emotional part, I think it will sink into the patient’s mind after doctor informed on what could happen if the patient let all the excess weight control his/her life.

    of course, doctor should also one who walk the talk and should be in normal BMI rather than the one who is in the “morbidly obese” BMI.

  • Patriot Henry // May 20, 2009 at 11:09 AM

    “What do you think, should a doctor be responsible in informing his patient about overweight?”

    Yes, they should, but only once. I personally have a tremendous amount of respect for fat people, especially VERY fat people, who are that way because they enjoy the lifestyle.

    And why wouldn’t one listen to a fat doctor speaking about the medical consequences of being overweight? Merely because they choose to take risks doesn’t mean they don’t know the dangers of those risks…and they’d be much more likely to be able to speak from first hand experience.

  • Yin Teing // May 28, 2009 at 4:31 PM

    I feel the doctor should notify the patient if he/she is overweight because uncontrolled weight led to a lot of future medical complications. But most doctors would just say ‘you just need to lose weight’ without telling the ‘hows’. Most patients would have know that they need to lose weight- and a doctor should also identify if the overweight is attributed to depression- for that, it’s a different form of treatment alltogether.

    Btw Mun, congratulations- your blog is listed as #60 in the Malaysia Top Blogs by Riceblogger
    Keep up the good work :)

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