Written by Dr. Dave Hnida, CBS4 Medical EditorTwo interesting studies in the International Journal of Obesity.

One shows doctors who are “plump” around the waist aren’t well-respected by their patients.

The other shows patients who are “plump” are not alway well-respected by their doctors.

Kind of a mirror effect here.

The one study found that patients who had a doctor who was overweight or obese often didn’t follow their doctors’ advice — found their doctors to be less credible — and were more likely to change to a doctor with a thinner waistline. Thats no matter whether the doc had a great bedside manner, or for that matter, a brilliant medical mind.

On the other side of the stethoscope, it seems we doctors don’t alway respect patients who are carrying extra pounds. We are less compassionate, less empathetic, display less warmth during our visits, and generally, just seemed like we didn’t care to the same degree we might for a slimmer patient.

Obviously, both patients and doctors can do better.

Losing weight is hard. We all know extra weight is not healthy. And I can understand that  doctors need to set an example– I mean who is going to listen to me talk about the importance of a healthy lifestyle if I look like I’m  knocking down a giant bag of Cheetos every night.

We physicians do need to practice what we preach.

As for patients, we do need to treat everyone with respect and concern. Cant treat an obese patient different from a skinny one. Yet even here, don’t expect your doc to do all of the work for you — and fix your aches and pains if you’re ten sizes too big in pants size.

You do need to take personal responsibility as well.

Bottom line: we all need to work on this. It’s hard, but its do-able. Sure, its work… but tell me what comes easy in life.

And as Aretha says: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Very important everywhere, including the exam room.


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