Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Maybe this is making outcomes worse?

From an interesting interview with a (formerly) obese cardiologist:

In 2003, Gary Foster, now director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University, conducted a survey of primary-care doctors about obesity. More than half viewed obese patients as ugly and noncompliant. A third saw them as weak-willed and lazy.


He understands that doctors can be frustrated by their patients' failure to lose weight, but he sees it as no worse than many other difficult-to-treat diseases. "My fellow colleagues are understanding of cancer even when it recurs and recurs, and they'll say, 'Well, that's the disease,' " he said.

I think that this might have some serious ramifications for the treatment of obesity by the medical profession. Patients seem as noncompliant are less likely to receive treatment which can make the health risk associated with obesity more difficult to treat.

It's true that there is some factor that is driving the current obesity epidemic (and the even mroe cocnerning diabetes epidemic) that is, my definition, modifiable. But perhaps we should focus on what that factor is? After all, our grandparents were much less obese (on average) and that suggests that the focus shouldn't necessary be at the level of the patient but rather at how we have changed our culture.

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