Weighty issues must be addressed

FACED with overweight or obese patients, GPs should be forthright about their need to lose weight, a study suggests.

Far from being insulted by a doctor telling them they weigh too much, patients with a high BMI were more motivated to become healthy, it found.

Patients aged between 18 and 64 years taking part in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, who reported they were told by a physician they were overweight, were six to eight times more likely to correctly classify their weight as a health concern and twice as likely to do something about it.

Around 37% of overweight participants and 19% of obese participants did not consider themselves overweight if a physician had never told them so, the researchers found.

As risk perception is a key impetus to change behaviour, doctors’ comments increase the odds that patients will have a “realistic” perception of their own weight, the authors wrote in the