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Hot Topic Tuesday: How Far Should Doctors Go To Help Patients Lose Weight?

Written on August 7, 2012 at 11:26 am , by

Do you think doctors should start discussing BMI measurements? (Photo courtesy of IStock)

Written by Laura Cofsky, editorial intern

With so many studies on the consequences of excess fat making the news, it’s no wonder obesity has become a hot button issue. After all, no one wants an increased risk of getting Type 2 diabetes. And to make matters worse, experts predict 42 percent of Americans will be obese by 2030!

To combat what looks like a very gloomy forecast, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) has proposed that all adults be examined for obesity during routine checkups. Our height and weight are already taken, but the USPSTF recommends doctors also calculate BMI; then discuss weight loss plans with patients who have a BMI over 30.

The upside? It may help patients realize potential lifestyle changes are needed, and help is available. In fact, the new proposal could lead to reimbursement for weight loss treatments, such as counseling.

However, it seems a bit shortsighted to make the conversation just about weight loss. There are some health problems that contribute to excess weight, and taking such a quick-fix approach may do more harm then good. After all, many of us know people who “look” healthy, but still engage in very unhealthy activities.

Now you tell us: How would you feel if your doctor started taking BMI measurements?

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  • Marie

    My doctor did exactly this.  I weighed 292 lbs and I think my bmi was around 34??  She ran a bunch of blood tests and then set an appointment to discuss the results (which were not that good)  I walked out of her office deciding that I would walk and eat the WW points (did not actually think I could lose weight though)  Over the course of the next 2 years I lost 130 lbs.  Just gradually working at it.  At the one year mark I saw her again and she re-encouraged me.  She has also diagnosed me with PCOS and I now take Metformin – I actually do that has helped alot.  Just her encouragement but also getting me the medical help I needed.

  • http://www.robbynackner.com/ RobbynAckner

    If my Dr. took a BMI measurement and went with the results, I would feel obese. The BMI is wrong…it does not take into account the amount of muscle mass a person has. I work out a lot, I do a lot of strength training and I have muscles. According to the BMI, per my height and weight, I am borderline obese. But, I am far from that. There was a time in my life that I was morbidly obese…seriously close to 400 lbs, but I lost it with diet and exercise. They need to do scans to find real muscle mass vs fat

  • http://www.beliteweight.com/ Gastric Sleeve Surgery

    You can go up to that limit where there are no health risks. So consultation with the doctor needed time to time. Even there is no specific age for weight loss.

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  • Nbohr

    It would be fine with me.  I think physicians need to take a more active role in consulting with patients about obesity and the risks.

  • http://www.robbynackner.com/ RobbynAckner

    Congratulations on your weight loss Marie! Fabulous job!!  What is PCOS?

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