Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Do you prefer a fit doctor?

According to a story by Lauren C. Howe in the New York Times, some physicians include their gym and marathoning activities in their profiles. One doctor said he preferred to "lead" his patients by example.

But--Howe pointed out--this can be a turnoff to overweight or unfit patients who fear a "healthier than thou" attitude or lectures.

Negative attitudes about weight, according to other studies, are prevalent among doctors.

Howe and her team (J of Personality and Social Psychology) used the short doctor descriptions Kaiser offers Some doctors talked about their own fitness, others did not.

They found that overweight participants preferred doctors who did not emphasize their own fitness.

The participants also brought up stories of doctors lecturing about weight the second they walked in--despite whatever the presenting complaint was.

The results were lessened if the doctors in the study added that they thought healthy lifestyles come in different forms.

Federal guidelines urge doctors to lead by example and some organizations even want them to pledge to do so.

The researchers concluded that the docs could be subtler.

Now--the responses. There were many. I would say about a fourth said they would never take diet advice from a fat doctor. But others said they thought that doctor would know more about what was involved.

There were many stories--including some from yours truly--about doctors jumping right to weight as the cause of everything wrong with the patient--which could lead to other things being missed.

What do you think?

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