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Weight Control

Physicians and Overweight Americans in Denial About Treatment


Wake up America! Obesity is a health risk. Overweight people run a higher rate of premature death from all causes, but especially from heart disease and cancer, according to a New England Journal of Medicine study.

Unfortunately, doctors of overweight Americans are failing to bring up the topic of weight loss with their patients and if they do, they fail to recommend comprehensive treatment programs of diet, exercise, behavioral modification and medication when appropriate, according to the national "Talk to Your Doctor" survey.

"Overweight Americans may see the threat as real, but they don't believe it applies to them personally," said Barbara J. Moore, Ph.D., president and CEO of Shape up America! "We are failing to personalize the serious health threats people face when they carry excess weight as fat. It is similar to smokers who know cigarettes can kill, but are sure they will never get sick."

The survey polled significantly overweight Americans who are at risk for obesity-related illnesses and premature death.

Below are some important findings from the study:

  • Almost seven out of 10 seriously overweight Americans believe their health is not at risk because of their excess weight.

  • Of the 44 percent who have discussed weight loss with their physician, two out of three had to bring the topic up first — not the doctor.

  • Most doctors (82 percent) did little more than suggest their patients get more exercise to manage their weight. Only 17 percent of respondents indicated their physicians recommended drug therapy to help them lose weight, 80 percent of the time without explaining the differences between FDA-approved prescription medications.

For more information, visit the Shape Up America! Web site, www.shapeup.org.


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